Do We Deserve The Moniker "Entitled Infant?" Submitted by LoneLee on 12/11/2018 at 09:07 PM
An unflattering term used in a recent interview by New Day member Xavier Woods to describe a portion of the dejected wrestling fanbase. Ouch, man. I thought we were cool! Look, the social media wrestling fanbase has been dubbed many things: IWC, Social Justice Warrior, Keyboard Warrior. But never anything more derogatory or condescending than this. It's a butthurt era and demanding era as well, I get that. But was it completely uncalled for? It's hard for me to agree or disagree without analyzing the whole situation. Unfortunately, there is alot of truth to that in regards to entitlement. Moreover, WWE can be held directly accountable for such a reaction.
I want to break down a few things he said in his interview and further examine what it means to be a appreciative fan in this day and age. First, we'll need to go in the "way back" machine. won't you join me?
I'm old for saying this but 'back in my day' we would have maybe 1 or two wrestling shows a week. Maybe a highlight show and a 1 to 2-hour program on a weekly basis. Internet wasn't at everyone's fingertips, meaning no peek behind the curtain of kayfabe or exposure to regional or international programming. Plus we would have a seemingly never-ending wait until the following week for the next chapter in every story. Nowadays, WWE produces at least 9 hours of wrestling content weekly! (Correct me if I missed something.) Combine that with monthly PPVs, untelevised live events, and quarterly specials such as the MMC. Guess what happens, the roster gets over exposed as well as spread very thin. It was a determining factor in WCW's demise and continues to be an issue with the growing injured list. And obviously, the latter throws a monkey wrench in long-term plans for character storylines, forcing sudden and sometimes confusing changes. Week after week we hear the announcers pitch the line "longest episodic running weekly program" this and that. How many episodic programs can maintain consistently entertaining weekly installments with no break or off-season for decades? None that come to mind immediately. It is understandable for fans to grow complacent over a product.
The original context of his comments is that "different guys and girls (are) portraying their form of art that they love – that they wanna give to (fans)." But to say we don't appreciate the art form of professional wrestling is asinine. The art form is the sole reason we continue to watch so devotedly. In some circles, fans might complain about wrestlers focusing too much on the athletic showcase and dismiss the character or story. (Dr. Tom Prichard tells a great story about elephants in reference to that during an interview on Prime Time with Sean Mooney that i can't tell here.) But it doesn't take away from recognition of their abilities nor the drive to succeed they possess.
A child may merely be happy only seeing their favorite wrestler perform, regardless of the tangled web of wrestling politics. Bless their heart for that unconditional innocence. Whereas the Millennial (moving forward, referred to as the "older fan") grows frustrated seeing the underutilized flounder to the back of the spotlight. We WANT them to succeed because of what they put their bodies through. The older fan has grown accustomed a certain type of performer being groomed as headliners that sort of deemed unworthy. This is where toxic fandom kicks in.
Xavier Woods, and every wrestler in this business for that matter, is a victim of toxic fandom. It's a collection of negativity and the expectation for their characters to be in, for that character to be represented in the way that those fans think is right. A certain circle of fans try to hold the product hostage with their hashtags and crowd takeovers in hopes that the company churns out what they want in exactly the way they demand it. It could be viewed as a battle of ownership between the corporation and the consumer. And the ones who suffer the most in this struggle are the talents themselves. We must remember, they are a fusion of how they are created and how us fans choose to love them. I believe that kind of fan weighs out the toxic fan.
Toxic Fan, Entitled Infant, it doesn't matter. Call us what you will. "The best" will always be subjective and opinions will always differ.