Amalgam Rhapsody: In This Corner - Father Time! Submitted by LoneLee on 02/07/2019 at 11:54 AM
I'm back for another weekly random blurb! Managed to tear myself away from Kingdom Hearts 3 long enough to watch Raw last night. One of the top segments teased what was likely to be Kurt Angle's retirement speech. While that's not exaclty what it turned out to be, he did have a chance to say he was losing the battle with the undefeatable Father Time. It's an understatement to say that Angle has reached the pinnacle of and been lowered down to rock bottom in every ring he's ever competed. To think, from the young age of 7 he started to get into amateur wrestling. We all know where that led, but what's crazy is he didn't compete in a WWE ring until age 30. With his storied list of injuries and even moreover his issues with substance abuse, imagine the career Angle could've had. It became evident without question upon his first match back in WWE that his time was nearing its end. The much more slower and smaller Angle felt like a comedic nostalgia act. Perhaps even before that. But he already had nothing left to prove.
With that, I wanted to take a look at a few notables in the industry that seem to be winning the battle with Father Time, some that are slowing down significantly, and a couple that may need to throw in the towel sooner rather than later.
Winning: AJ Styles. Yes, if you listen to any Conrad Thompson podcast you'll know he uses AJ Styles as comparison for age when referring to some of the perceived "too old" wrestlers from yesteryear. At 41 years old, AJ is still considered by many to be in the upper echleon of talent today. Going 20+ minutes on every PPV match is a given for the Phenomenal One. The fact that he's still able to flawlessly execute Pelé kicks and springboard 450s just as he did when he was in his 20s baffles me. AJ may not break out the Spiral Tap as often as he once did, but you can guarantee when he does, it he'll make it count. Early rumors suggested he'd slow down or stop in 2 more years to be a family man, but if he does call it a career he'll go out still at the top of his game.
Winning: Mickie James. Here's one that kind of makes me sad. While she's not held in as high regard as Lita or Trish Stratus, Mickie could always easily wrestler circles around them. Mickie was prominent during a time that the women's division was often overlooked, severely lacking in suitable opponents or interesting storylines. It wasn't until moving onto TNA she fully reached her true potential. Now for some reason 39 years of age is considered to be old in the increasingly popular women's division. Mickie was, and still is, ahead of her time as a female wrestler in the WWE. She hasn't shown any sign of slowing down and with the right opportunity she can take that top spot once again.
Slowing down: Minoru Suzuki. Don't get me wrong, I have immense admiration and respect for the puissant leader of Suzuki-Gun. Spanning a career of over 3 decades, Suzuki has been a force to say the very least in both pro wrestling and MMA. One of the last remaining active wrestlers to have trained with the fabled Karl Gotch. While he's still able to hang on a toughness level with the best names in NJPW at age 50, the much faster pace wrestlers leave him looking a little stiff and sluggish in movement. Still proving to have a place among the top with NEVER Openweight and Intercontinental title victories within the passed 18 months, I would love to see him get just one IWGP Heavyweight title reign before his time is up.
Time's up: HHH. Even though he's considered a part-timer, a very part-timer usually only competing at Wrestlemania and the Saudi Arabia events, I would still consider HHH to be on the active list...and he no longer needs to be. Even though he does appear to take after the McMahon family and be a much more impressive physical specimen with age. But his diminished Win-Loss record and slow-motion moveset no longer bring that big fight feel to any of his matches as they once did. I know, he won his last two matches but did you watch them? I tried not to. I dare say the masses would not be upset if he permanently hung up his wrestling gear and continued to focus on creating the magic that is NXT.
Time's up: Big Show. Yea, call me Captain Obvious but I have a different approach to the man that often receives chants of "please retire." One of the benefits of WWE Network is re-watching all of the Monday Night War without having to switch channels back and forth hoping i didn't miss anything. In the heart of this war was a hungry Giant/Paul Wight. Holy crap, do you remember how he would occasionally break out a dropkick? Or he would spin smaller and sometimes thicker wrestlers around for a chokeslam? That's the Big Show I want to remember. Not now how his opponent does most of the chokeslam by their self as Show lazily raises his massive hand. Here's the thing about Big Show, at age 46 I'd hardly consider him old, but at that age he far surpasses the longevity of any big man in the business. Having conquered acromegaly, wrestled a full-time schedule for nearly a decade and a half, and been victim to a long list of injuries, Big Show has had a remarkable run. I hope Big Show goes out on a high note, but goes out soon.
There are a few honorable mentions to make like PCO who has to be the greatest comeback story in wrestling and Shane McMahon who's seemed to discover the fountain of youth. But is it really our place to decide when it's time for a veteran to call it a career? It's Jerry The King Lawler's philosophy that once fans stop paying to see him wrestle than that will be his cue. A certified senior citizen with two near-death experiences still gets a high sporadically performing! I guess what I'm trying to say is it gets to a point for us as fans where we go from being excited to see a big name to wincing every time they try to reignite the magic they once created. Perhaps it will always be up to each individual wrestler when to submit to Father Time.