Gary Cappetta has been a wrestling ring announcer since 1974 so he's seen several different eras of pro wrestling. This current era is emphasizing the athleticism and aerial abilities of performers and no one does a better job of that than AEW.
"Well, I keep up with it. I have seen a change in AEW – and this is just a guess on my part – that it is a result of the coaches that they have brought in like Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Bully Gunn, and Dean Malenko," said Cappetta. "I've seen them get a little bit more grounded. It is not the flying I have a problem with in any kind of pro wrestling, it is when people do things that are not logical…
"That is what I don't understand. I don't get it. If you're trying to bring people into the moment, you wouldn't do something that was illogical in a situation where your goal is to either pin someone or make them submit. We can't get away from that. Once you get away from that, then it is not pro wrestling. That is fine if it entertains people but then call it something different. But, once you start doing things that are illogical towards those goals, you lose me."
He said that type of wrestling should be called something else and many have labeled this style as "performance art" rather than pro wrestling or sports entertainment. Cappetta was asked for his thoughts on that phrase.
"You can call it that but you still have the same goals. I think the problem is too many of today's wrestlers are impatient and they need some kind of reaction from the crowd every 45 seconds," stated Cappetta. "If you look at it that way, it makes perfect sense why there's very little selling, why it is strike after strike after strike as opposed to understanding that if you're working well, you can have an audience that is taking in everything that you're doing.
"The only action isn't a 'WOW' reaction and it doesn't mean that you're not entertaining folks. We always had different styles – usually different styles on one card. I think you fall into the trap of everyone doing the same style. It would be like going to a concert and hearing the same song over and over and over again. After a while, you're going to be beyond that."
Some think that the current style of pro wrestling has alienated many of the older fans who grew up on a different style. Cappetta talked about wrestling's current state and what can be attributed to what we see on TV now.
"Wrestling has evolved. I think what has happened, and what has happened for the past couple of decades, is probably because of the internet. Younger people have been able to view wrestling styles from all over the world and those styles are now being incorporated into US wrestling," stated Cappetta. "Then there are those older folks who haven't been exposed to that."
He then compared it to when Garth Brooks held concerts and propelled from the rafters onto the stage. That was something that old-school country fans weren't used to and probably didn't think it belonged in country music.
"I think we have a tendency to pit generations against one another. I'll never be the kind of guy that says what we had in the past was great and what we have today is not. I think we tend to forget the stuff that was not so great in the past and things in the past that were not believable at all. But we just tend to overlook them," Cappetta said before using Gorilla Monsoon as an example.
"When he first made his debut in the WWWF, he was the Manchurian Giant. He didn't speak English. He was this wild man who just grunted and he had Wild Red Berry as his manager [laughs]. How realistic is that? And then, somehow, the people just accepted that this man became a well-spoken individual! He was away for a few months, came back, and had a full vocabulary! A lot of old-time fans have a tendency to forget those types of things and they really shouldn't do that."