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The Art of Booking a Squash Match

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(This blog is part inspired from WrestlingzPoster's blog about why Ryback, Brodus Clay, and Lord Tensai are boring.)

Squash matches are a tricky business. The usual idea behind them is that you are trying to make the winning wrestler look dominant, powerful, unstoppable, etc. Sometimes, it's used as a sort of punishment or weakness match meaning that the winner isn't necessarily being made to look powerful but the loser is meant to look bad (e.g. JBL vs. Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania).

The tricky part about it is in gauging how the fans are going to react to it. There are positives because if you are trying to push a certain wrestler or sell a wrestler's new gimmick that maybe now he's meaner or more monster like (think recent Mark Henry) a squash match can be effective. But in another way you are robbing fans of a legitimate match so you have to make having a squash match really count for both wrestlers involved and it can't be a complete squash against someone that's over.

That's exactly why Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania failed as a squash match. Daniel Bryan was the World Heavyweight Champion meaning in the supposed pecking order he's the second highest wrestler in the WWE. Plus, he's over with a lot of the fans as a great technical wrestler and it's a PPV and it's the biggest PPV and for those in the know it was the match we got robbed of seeing last year at Wrestlemania as the dark match! It's all been said before but this is the absolutely wrong way to do a squash even if it had the unintended positive effect to make Daniel Bryan more over.

Now, there's addressing the problem with Ryback, Lord Tensai, and Brodus Clay. Brodus Clay started squashing people in the fall of 2011 which has sadly continued up to now, Lord Tensai debuted in April squashing everyone the same month that Ryback debuts and squashes everyone. Most of these have been against jobbers (yes I know Tensai faced Cena but that's about it for non jobbers) so it doesn't violate the Sheamus/Bryan rule of not squashing someone super over so what's the problem?? Too much squash! When you do anything over and over again it gets old. All three of these wrestlers are squashing people at the same time and it's making WWE television not fun and it's not a surprise anymore. A big part of the fun of wrestling for many like myself is seeing a well worked match where I'm not sure who is going to win in the end. Squash matches can be fun but you can't oversaturate TV time with them (and also consider diva matches last 2 minutes which might as well be squashes).

Personally I think a squash match works best when it's an "almost squash match." If you have never seen Goldberg's WCW debut against Hugh Morrus or Brock Lesnar's early matches like his match against Jeff Hardy check em out and you'll see what I mean. The person being squashed gets in some offense but the squasher looks completely dominant. Both Hardy and Morrus were relatively over in their matches which made the domination by Lesnar and Goldberg respectively seem even greater.

But then it became about seeing someone who had a legitimate chance to take them out and that's the biggest problem with Clay especially since he's been doing this the longest with no threat to his domination. When no one that is being squashed gets any offense in the squasher ends up doing the same three or four moves with no variation and it gets stale to see.

The point is, we get it that these guys are strong from the squash matches now let's see them face some real competition, maybe versus each other would be an interesting twist.

Thanks for reading let me know what you think in the comments!

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  1. dashkatae's Avatar
    It would be nice if these guys got out of the squash match roster and actually faced some real opponents. I've looked at some superstar debuts and they weren't squash matches but instead with real main roster stars. The E needs to start transitioning these big guys out of doing squash matches and let people see what they can really do, otherwise they'll never get over.
  2. nrb6304's Avatar
    I think the biggest problem with Clay, is that what he is showing us he can do....IS all he can do.

    A-Train we all already know can go in the ring, and the fact that he's BETTER NOW after his time in Japan, (granted I never thought he was BAD as A-Train in fact I thought he was gonna get a good push, but then you look at the SD! Roster at the time Matt Morgan, Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Nathan Jones, too many big guys). ANYWAYS we're really just waiting till this push we keep reading about for him kicks in.

    Ryback, I think the squash's are working because he's doing handicapped matches now and just dominated. Me and my old man were talking, and really wanna see Ryback hook up with Brock Lesnar, or Big Show. We think that if you're HONESTLY TRULY looking to build a young kid into something great, THAT'S how! Ryback vs. Lesnar if done right, could be the Lesnar/Goldberg match we never got a chance to see. (Yeah yeah WM 20 blah blah blah, that match blew dogs for quarters)

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