Attention all wrestling columnists and readers: many of you need to lighten up already! I am sick and tired of the constant negativity by the hardcore-niche IWC fans towards WWE. Why don’t some of you pull yourselves out of your parents’ basements and attics and find employment? While doing so, let WWE do their thing and find a way to appeal to the ever-fading casual fans. You know, those same casual fans that actually spend more than $9.99 a month on the WWE product and do not wear bootlegged shirts! Also, I wish many of the IWC fans would stop hijacking the damn TV shows and learn how to react organically as a fan in attendance should. WWE should hand out muzzles at the gates, just in case you feel the need to shit on something during the show. Perhaps you can then have the decency to put the muzzle on and let the organic crowd reactions happen naturally. Often times, the casual voices are rarely heard because they are getting drowned out by your nonsensical chanting. If you could just stop trying to put yourselves over, that would be much appreciated.
Look, I know WWE is not perfect. If anything, IWC fans should be SMART enough to just not chant at all and sit down for the parts of the show they do not like. I guarantee that WWE will call audibles much more frequently if they get crickets. The bottom line is simple: 20-minute wrestling matches with Mauro Ranallo commentating the play-by-play, and great storylines/characters with someone like Jimmy Jacobs and Dewey Foley writing them can coexist today. The IWC needs to stop hating on wrestlers like Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin, Carmella/Ellsworth, and Enzo Amore. They are booked the way they are for a reason, and that is to stir up a reaction out of YOU. Come to think of it, this kind of reminds me of how carnivals work…
At its very core, professional wrestling should be considered a carnival act, which is a traveling amusement show or circus. In case some of you forgot, entertainment shows like this are not real. They are planned out and scripted with choreographed stunts, promos, etc. And the kicker of it all is everyone knows this, yet they crave more of the “fake” fighting and “fake” play-by-play announcing in wrestling. And yes, I do understand that there are protagonists and antagonists in wrestling, so there should be cheers and boos; however, when the ringmaster of a circus comes out at the beginning of the show, you never hear the crowd boo him. But in wrestling, John Cena and Roman Reigns, who have been casted by the WWE as the ringleaders, get a plethora of boos. At least many of the IWC fans get it right when they go “oooooh” and “aaaaah” for the trapeze artists. You can also think of the merchandise and foods stands throughout the arena as the carnival midway: step right up and step right in, grab some popcorn, peanuts, and a foam finger…the show is about to begin.
Now let’s think about the Freak Show of Coney Island. Wrestling has many of the same qualities and characters. Hornswoggle as the smallest person, Nicole Bass as the manly lady, Big Show as the tallest person, Doink as the evil clown, Zack Gowen as the one legged performer, Mick Foley as the human cannonball, Dino Bravo and Mark Henry as the strongest man, several wrestlers as the human pincushion, Sheamus as the albino, Goldust as the bizarre one, Jeff Hardy and Shane McMahon as the daredevil, Vince McMahon as the money grabbing promoter, and there has probably even been a bearded woman (Kevin Owens?). As you can see, the Human Oddities were not just a faction in the Attitude Era with Golga, Luna, Kurrgan, Giant Silva, etc. In fact, many aspects of professional wrestling continue to be odd to this very day.
Now I want to transition this discussion into the root of all carnEVIL in today’s professional wrestling, and that is INDY wrestling. I remember growing up that indy wrestling was simply known as the territories, where wrestlers could work on their craft before hitting it big in WWF and eventually WCW. Some territories were a lot larger and more prominent than others, even having shows on television. Once Vince McMahon put most of the territories out of business, ECW became the new niche territory in the 1990s. However, this is when I think the cult following of indy wrestling truly began. The problem with indy wrestling today is there are way too many promotions. Although there are some really good ones out there like AIW, PWG, Evolve, Rocky Mountain Pro, Northeast Wrestling, etc, there are many really shitty ones out there, too. Many indy promotions today are the equivalent of organized backyard wrestling with paid attendance and concessions. Ugh! Without a doubt, that screams carnival act. There are probably even many people running shows like that without a valid state promoter’s license. And that is truly unfortunate because many untrained or not properly trained wrestlers are out there disrespecting the legit (trained) ones who paved the way. These inexperienced wrestlers are putting other people at risk of getting seriously injured. No wonder Virtue stepped away from the indy wrestling scene near Cleveland. Perhaps he just isn’t a carnival guy…
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