The trouble with professional wrestling in 2021 is that it is broadly too good.
The spectacular has been normalised. In recent weeks, WWE NXT has debuted two, potentially incredible talents in Carmelo Hayes and Trey Baxter. Both work the modern, breathtaking style. Both would be popping the GIFsphere f*cking daft had they arrived on the scene just a couple of years ago, but professional wrestling has been inundated with so much brilliance that, cruelly, they are not. If you're not keeping up with NXT, incidentally, now might be the time. The tropes are still the tropes, but the action is close to approximating the old, Full Sail fire.
But how much does that matter in 2021?
It feels like we're approaching a paradigm shift away from the ***** pursuit, if it isn't already underway. Both WWE and AEW appear to have sensed this, albeit with wildly different approaches. WWE is indulging in schlock supernatural theatre, where AEW Dynamite is episodic - almost to a fault, despite its general standard of excellence - in making matches on an angle-first basis. The f*ck-it-why-not banger feels like an old pre-pandemic trend.
Though El Hijo del Vikingo is doing unbelievable sh*t on your tl, movez with a z are on the outs - unless someone can match the thrill of what follows here...
10. Fénix's Rope-Walk Kick
The Undertaker's old rope-walk was tentative, because walking on the ropes is insanely difficult with gigantic scope for humiliation, but he was clever enough to make it feel deliberate. It was showmanship as dread; by performing a feat that looked impossible, he conveyed a supernatural aura as his opponents froze in fear.
That's the nice, head-canon explanation, anyway, and why not suspend disbelief?
Yes, his opponent could have simply pushed him off the rope, but wrestling was more realistic back then, wasn't it?
Snark aside, it was an impressive feat in itself, and the precedent he established enabled Fénix to get over as a mind-blowing superhuman in his wake. The Undertaker literally walked so that Fénix could run. Fénix ran the tightrope in a spot that continues to inspire disbelief. It's a phenomenal feat of balance, poise and agility, and it's not just something cool, even if that would be enough.
The move puts Fénix over as a pro wrestler capable of attacking his opponents from all angles - angles his peers can't conceive of, much less defend against.
On that note...