Hello everyone. It's been a few days. I guess I needed time to recover after Backlash. After a string of events to review we are now a month away from Money in the Bank which gives me plenty of time to spout off some opinion pieces. So sit back and enjoy... or as some of the brainWWEashed masses might tell you JUST ENJOY IT!!! This is Planet Kayfabe.
I feel like I'm doomed to talk about this forever. If you follow me on Twitter, once in a while you know I can't help but take the bait whenever I see a fan say "can't you just enjoy it?" because the structure of that very statement makes no sense. Just "enjoy it" as if there is a choice? There's not. It's my choice to complain. It's not my choice as to whether I enjoy something or not. If I watch a wrestling event or movie or listen to an album, if I like it I will enjoy it by the laws of cause and effect. If I think it sucks, I will not enjoy it. It's not a choice. If I am listening to obscure 80's death metal in the car and you're *COMPLAINING* because you think it's garbage would your opinion change about-face if I told you to "just enjoy it". No. So, as I'm sure you can see, when put into perspective, this logic is warped and pretty silly to say the least.
I'm sure the astute NoDQ visitor knows what spawned this topic. The day after Backlash, Frankie Kazarian who, whatever, I'm sure is a decent enough guy felt the need to post THIS:
I liked it when people were fans. When nobody knew who the booker was. Or cared. Nobody asked “who wrote this segment?” Who was on the creative team was not even remotely a thought. Yes, everything evolves, which is positive. Along the way however, we’ve forgotten to just be fans
Oh, "along the way, we forgot how to be fans" boy doesn't that just jerk your heart strings and make you feel like a piece of shit for thinking Backlash was a piece of shit. Yeah, me neither. I can't begin to say how much I can't stand when insider and fans alike post things like this. Little of it has to do with being is NO mood at all to hear yet another "shut up and like it, dammit!" rant a day after one of the worst WWE events I've seen in recent memory. More of it has to do with this protective mindset many men and women in the business have where fans are not allowed to ever dare to be critical about anything. It's a line of thinking that is baffling to me and of course in the age of social media you will find a lot of ass kiss fans and wanna-be podcasters out there reply, agreeing with this crap to try and ingratiate themselves to a wrestler just so they can get the rub with a RT or some shit. I'm sure you all remember Goldust's tweet a few months back when he told a fan to 'just enjoy it' and you don't need to be one of Aaron Rift's 9,999 followers too long to see every time he is critical about a bad segment he is told to "just enjoy it" or to stop watching... As if this isn't his job with a wrestling website to run or something.
I find it hilarious that for some reason wrestling is supposed to be this protected genre of entertainment that should be immune to scrutiny. We've all seen bad movies and left the theater saying, 'wow! That movie was a 3 hour kick in the neck!' We've all watched our favorite sports teams play bad games and complain about it afterwards. We've all heard bad songs and wondered how that person or band is making money in the music industry. Yet... wrestling with wrestling no one is allowed to comment unless it is glowing praise and ball washing fanfare? Give me a break! No fans didn't forget to be fans, in fact, it's your biggest fans that are going to have the loudest voices and voice their concerns when they know as a consumer in WWE's product that things could be better.
Another old-time wrestler excuse I just love is "if you've never taken a bump or laced up a pair of boots, you can't have an opinion". Well... you're right in one regard. If fans suddenly started complaining about the proper way to wheel into La Magistral or telling Daniel Bryan how to do a better headlock take-down, then sure the fans' opinions on that wouldn't be too valid. However, fans are 100% fully qualified to say that a show sucked or a match was boring or a promo was shit or a gimmick is lame. That is all a matter of opinion. Again, if you follow me on Twitter or are a regular reader you're likely aware of my background in music. The same logic applies. A audience of non-musicians may not be able to tell me how to properly fret chords or explain the proper technique behind a 24 bar 6 string sweet arpeggio sequence, but they are fully qualified to critique my performance. They are fully qualified to tell me that they think a song I wrote sucks. We've all done it, too. If you've watched American Idol, you may not be able to sing a note but you've judged bad singers in the early round. Simon Cowell, who I've never heard sing, became a multi-millionaire judging singers. Siskel and Ebert built an empire being the most respected critics in film despite never writing or directing or acting in any major blockbusters that I'm aware of. Yet, for some reason Dave Meltzer who never wrestled a match is the devil for daring to put star ratings on matches. Who knew the tough world of professional wrestling could harbor such sensitive people. Maybe next time I see a wrestler bitch about airlines on Twitter a pilot should reply back with "excuse me, are you in the aviation business? No? Then shut up and just enjoy our service."
In an era where WWE is a virtual monopoly and are raking in a ton of cash from USA Network (their new deal expected to triple their current one) and taking money from Saudi Arabia and aiming to please Wall Street and stock holders with no real financial incentive to listen to the actual fans anymore, I think the least they can put up with is a few fans on social media voicing their opinions as consumers. Why do you think the indy's are growing? There's more than one reason, sure, there's a lot of talent out there but one big reason is unlike WWE right now they have to listen to you guys or else there is no business. In WWE it doesn't matter how shitty the booking is. It doesn't matter if they keep Roman Reigns in the main event or turn him or not or make him a jobber or make a jobber like Jinder Mahal hold the championship with the same lineage as Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan and 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin for 8 months -- it doesn't matter. They're still going to make money and the sweeter the TV deals are, the bigger safety net they have and the more reason they have to use that safety net as a hammock and rest on their business success. A bunch of fans shit on your main event? A bunch of fans don't cheer who you tell them to cheer? A bunch of fans leave the show early? Boo-hoo, f***ing deal with it if you're that much bothered by it. There's a reason why the fans react that way and it's not because they don't want to just enjoy the show. They give you their time and money hoping for a great show and hoping WWE supplies their demands as loyal consumers and when it is blatantly obvious that they aren't being listened to, like any product, the consumer will leave a bad review online.
Going back to Kaz's tweet. Maybe he's thinking of his childhood when everything was perfect in wrestling. Another thing I commented on, the similar mindset of "why can't just be fans like when we were kids?" does this stupid logic apply to other aspects of life? Like should I continue throughout life with the mentality of a 7 year old? There was never a time in modern pro-wrestling where fans never complained. Fans didn't just always go along with the program. Maybe you did as a kid, but even in the pre-internet age there were older, hardcore fans who would boo what they saw as a bad booking decision. There were rejected babyfaces that got booed. There were heels who got cheered. There were fans asking "who booked this shit?" during a lame f*** finish that hurt a match and didn't benefit anyone. You were just too young to understand at the time. The fans didn't forget how to be fans like they were when they were kids. The fans got older, smarter, more sophisticated to the genre and more passionate. Not all of them are smart and not all of them have all the answers, but it doesn't take the wrestling mind of a guy like Fit Finlay to say Backlash sucked or "Bayley, This Is Your Life" was a terrible segment or the WWF exploiting Road Warrior Hawk's addictions during the Attitude Era was in poor taste. I don't hear any bitching when we praise things that are great. Like many of the fans who doubted Ronda Rousey's in-ring work praising her match at Wrestlemania 34 or saying the Intercontinental Championship match at the same critically panned Backlash event was perhaps the WWE match of the year so far. Yeah, I know... It's funny how these same fans who have no right to comment on anything in Wrestling are suddenly validated when they praise a show or match. Never hear anyone say fans have no say in the matter when they're putting your shit over because they actually have a reason to enjoy it and aren't just being told to "just enjoy it".
If I sound like I'm being an asshole, it should go without saying but I guess I'll put it on the record anyway... Like all of you I love wrestling and I also think wrestlers can be some of the coolest people in the entertainment business. If you share Kaz's mindset, I hate to be the one to tell you but your childhood memories weren't that innocent and everything wasn't as fresh as a bright blue sky. Before you, there were a group of hardcore wrestling fans who had been watching for 10, 15, 20+ years that were passionate and vocal. The only difference is now with social media you're exposed to more opinions than ever before. When a hyped big-budget movie sucks people go to Twitter and bury it. When a WWE PPV sucks it is no different.
The success of "All In" being able to draw 10,000 fans can greatly be attributed to how many of these long-time WWE fans feel. For a while, especially in the half-decade run of trying to get them to like Roman Reigns, they haven't felt their needs are met as a consumer. Unlike WWE who could be tripling their deal with the USA Network in 2019, independent run shows like All In have to listen to the fans and cater to their needs, since, ya know they don't have the benefit of being able to remain complacent because it doesn't matter who WWE tries to shove down your throats, the money will roll in anyway. Independent shows have to do this crazy thing called appeal to the needs of the consumer and that's one of the reasons All In's grass-roots movement has resonated with so many fans.
Maybe you older people remember New Coke. The consumers rejected it and the Coca-Cola Company, a massive corporation, was forced to change. Why? Because there's Pepsi right across the street ready to take over. In this age with WWE there is no Pepsi and Roman Reigns is your 'New Coke' and you're told to "just enjoy it" because the company doesn't just hold all the leverage over the boys, but the fans, too.
Well... Now that you're good and depressed, I'd like to thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy your weekend. :) I'm "K.C." Paul Matthews, for NoDQ this is Planet Kayfabe. Thank you very much for reading. Follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe and I'll be here next time. I'm glad you could join me again. Take care, everyone.