Welcome to Seven Things, a list that will run weekly and consist of very eclectic topics. These are of my opinions and doesn’t express the views of others on WrestlingOnEarth.
On my Twitter, I will sometimes get the questions asking what percentage of things I say are my true opinions and what opinions do I play up with my “typicalROHfan” moniker. Hopefully, this debut list will give an insight into some of my views of the wrestling world.
This will be a weekly list. Most will be about more specific or silly wrestling topics but this one tackles the wrestling fan community. I’ve been reading and chatting about pro wrestling online via social media since 2006, and these are some of the things I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around. It’s not stemmed from one specific person or any specific people at all but rather mindsets and ideologies I’ve found become more common as time goes on.
7. “This should be an hour less!”
With RAW adding a third hour, it has led to MANY complaints and numerous people upset about it. This is basically the equivalent to ordering a medium sized pizza but getting a large for the same price. If you’re completely full, why eat the extra slices? And if you eat the extra slices, can you blame the pizza parlor?
It’s such a simple solution. Watch two hours! Or however much your ideal number is. Add portion control to your wrestling viewing. I have personally been bored with RAW the last few weeks. I decided to not watch the entire show this week. I did other things for most of the night and when segments I was interested started, I switched to it and I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong. Wanting a better product is perfectly acceptable and should be vocalized but complaining there’s too many hours of programming is just silly when you’re not being forced to watch it.
6. Why is this match on free TV? Ugh! Damn it, idiots!
Try explaining to a non diehard wrestling fan that you’re upset about getting the matches you want to see for free instead of on PPV at a listed price of $60. To draw another comparison to show the mind boggling logic, imagine crossing a street before the street light says WALK, spotting a cop, going up to him/her and TELLING THEM: “Hey, I just jaywalked. Do you want to fine me?” It’s so ass backwards.
Maybe some people have invested in WWE stock? I understand caring about a company but there is no substantial way to determine what will or won’t make money in the long run. A positive to both topics listed so far is that WWE RAW has produced many fantastic matches in 2013 and is responsible for arguably the best WWE matches in general this year. If you buy the PPVs and this upsets you, then just don’t buy the PPVs and do a celebration dance that you’re saving $70 a month.
5. Injuries = bad wrestlers.
It’s become more and more prevalent lately with the Mike Bennett/BJ Whitmer spot and recently again during a PWG match between Tomasso Ciampa and Brian Cage but fans equating an injury with being a bad wrestler is ridiculous and quite frankly, very lame. This goes for just about any respectable wrestler but Bennett and Ciampa are good wrestlers who have been doing it for a while. They aren’t guys two matches into a career just being reckless.
The fact that one of the all-time in ring greats Owen Hart had a move go wrong with Steve Austin leading to his severe neck injuries shows just how quickly and simple an injury can happen in wrestling. Seriously blaming a capable wrestler for a moment like that is one of the lowest moves a fan can pull.
On the flip sides, I’ve seen guys like Christian Cage and a few others get flack for getting injured. Recently on Twitter and other Internet outlets, there have been some remarks about Christian getting a concussion to “screw it up” for himself. Once again, injuries can happen at any time in a business like wrestling so to fault someone for getting hurt is also very low. There’s no rational way to go about passing blame on these, unless someone is being careless about his or his opponent’s well-being, and that is very hard to spot from watching behind a television or laptop screen.
4. Heels should do this and faces should do that.
Many fail to realize the reason WWE loves John Cena and are in no rush to put performers above him is because he blurred the lines (no relation to Alan Thicke’s douchebag son) between face and heel. Any match Cena is in, he’s usually the most loved or the most hated on the show to at least 80% of the audience. That’s become more of a staple in today’s wrestling culture than a “face” vs. a “heel” world. It gives WWE a character that’s both loved and hated enough to face anyone at all and get a crowd emotionally invested in both ways.
I bring this up due to recent points I’ve seen made by people saying the current Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan feud is doing things “the right way” because the heel is beating up the face until the face prevails and they didn’t enjoy similar things with Cena because the face getting the upper hand on the heel all the time is “the wrong way.” I think that’s a very outdated and close minded approach to wrestling. If you dislike the execution, that’s more than fine. However, to like or dislike something based off a format rather than the content, I’ll never understand.
Saying things “should be” that way because the story has followed that routine for most of wrestling’s lifetime is no different than someone saying CM Punk and Daniel Bryan shouldn’t be in the upper card because of their size and wrestling has been about the giants and monsters for decades. It’s a point of view that’s fair to have, but it simplifies wrestling to a routine.
Something I feel is a problem in the current climate of pro wresting is the following of routine and basically just imitating what you’ve seen. Many performers, promotions and fans are not straying from the pre-formatted line of wrestling’s past routine.
3. They are burning money.
In terms of my pet peeves, this one bugs me the most. The specific time it hit me just how idiotic this mentality is, was Extreme Rules 2012 featuring John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar. The overall opinion was that the match was excellent, a rare dynamic of entertainment to pro wrestling and overall fun, but the finish was a terrible business decision. I remember a quote being along the lines of “that was one of the most enjoyable matches in a while but I have to lower the star rating because they just threw away so much money.”
The next day, Bryan Alvarez added a photo of money burning in flames to his website. Do I personally think Lesnar winning would have been the best decision? Yes, but who am I to determine that? Maybe the result lead to more kids being so happy about their hero coming out on top that they had their parents order more Cena merch, and that’s enough to counterbalance any adult viewers saying “that was dumb, I don’t believe in Brock, I don’t want to pay to see him again.” I’m sure in the 90s there were people questioning Steve Austin’s victories and success “burying” Kane or Mick Foley.
The only somewhat logical way to determine financial success is buy-rates, and every PPV Brock Lesnar has appeared on since then has done very good numbers. So in that scenario, there’s really less than zero proof that it lost money and even if it did, who cares? Unless you’re an investor or a WWE employee, you really have no stake in caring about their financial success.
2. That match was not enjoyable. ***3/4
The categories of matches you enjoy and “good” wrestling matches should not be too far apart in the Venn diagram of wrestling. The example I will pull out is Davey Richards. In regards to this topic, he is a very polarizing wrestler. I recall his Final Battle 2011 match with Eddie “Eddie Edwards” Edwards being generally disliked on the internet. Many referred to it as “boring” and “pointless” but a surprising number of those same folks would rate the match “***3/4” on the star ratings scale.
While I put zero significance on star ratings, that’s a highly positive reaction in that spectrum of fan reaction. People strongly disliked a match but still felt an obligation to say it was “very good” because of another “routine” of “good wrestling” that doesn’t even exist outside of our own minds.
On the flip side with Richards, I also recall a match with Tyler Black that some loved but felt they had to point out it wasn’t technically a “great” wrestling match because of the lack of selling. I view wrestling being an art form as the best thing about it, and the beauty of art is how it varies and is subjective. Pigeon-holing it via a one-track mind really cheapens the art and just creates bland ideologies. Imagine every painting being a page of squares, every single exhibit at every single museum. That’s the image I get when I see folks defining wrestling in either of these ways.
1. It makes sense.
This is basically a combination of many of the prior points. It blows my mind how often I read or hear this term. Usually meant to justify something a fan doesn’t like but wants to defend, the “it makes sense” comment is thrown out frequently. Much like matches or assumed financial success, an example would be “God, I hate Khali! I change the channel every time he’s on, but… he’s a 7 foot 5 giant so IT MAKES SENSE! Good job, WWE creative.” I’m well aware no one has ever used this mentality to defend the Great Khali but it “makes more sense” with him than most of the wrestlers it’s used with, so hopefully this shows just how foolish of a statement that is.
Fantasy booking has affected the way people watch wrestling today but unlike sports where “fantasy” is a defined structure, there’s no way to determine any of these things in wrestling. Fans who chase the fictitious “rights and wrongs” are biting off their noses to spider faces, in the words of the great Michael Gary Scott. It’s like we’re going to a (WWE) Universe where everyone turns into a Ro(h)bot.
Enjoying what you enjoy because you as an individual thinking it’s entertaining should be all you need to validate something. Not what you think makes money for people you have zero personal attachment to, not what guys in the ’80s said wrestling was, not what guys in any time period says wrestling is, not what ANYONE says wrestling is, not doing x amount of moves, not promotions following a story book guideline. It’s art. The only structure you should follow is your entertainment. That’s what most “makes sense” to me.
Thanks for reading and come back next week. I’m sure it will be a more lighthearted list.
– Jonas Wakefield