ViRTUE's RAGE: Overcritical Wrestling Fans, Becky Vs Ronda Submitted by Virtue on 02/10/2019 at 04:53 PM
February 10, 2019
Finally, after nearly a year away from doing a written column on NoDQ.com, I present to you a brand new ViRTUE’s RAGE. The topic I want to discuss is this: Why are the remaining fans of today’s wrestling product obsessed with it so much? Eat, sleep, watch wrestling, (complain), repeat! I put (complain) in parenthesis because not all fans complain, but it is clear as day that many of them do. Besides pro sports, wrestling is perhaps the only form of entertainment where many fans hate it almost as much as they love and defend it, and all because of the outcomes. I give pro sports a pass because many of the vocal and emotional fans are either invested in the outcomes for financial reasons such as betting or fantasy leagues, or because they are passionate about their home teams winning. Let’s not forget, pro sports are also a legit competition, unlike wrestling, which is a scripted show. I have always found it fascinating how fans of anything harshly criticize the professionals that do it. I understand not liking a product because it is deemed boring or uninteresting, but I believe the right action should be fans not consuming it at all, rather than complaining about it and judging the professionals that do it. Now you have to keep reading because you have jumped down the rabbit hole with me…
What exactly makes today’s remaining wrestling fan base so vocal of the product? Perhaps they live too vicariously through their favorite performers, and when the creative direction and booking of said performers does not go how the fans so desire, then boom, pure RAGE. For example, one of the main discussions I constantly see on Twitter lately is Becky Lynch Vs Ronda Rousey. Since Becky won the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble match and has landed a spot against the champion, Rousey, at WrestleMania, many fans are demanding the match is not compromised and Becky goes over Rousey to win the title on the big stage. Many fans are even demanding that match closes the show. What happened to just watching a product and reacting to it organically as it happens? But no, that simply cannot happen in the pro wrestling bubble because fans want to apparently book the results themselves. Many fans want to feel they are the ones who decide who is in the match, who wins the match, and when the match takes place. That is absolute bullshit. If that is something you want to actually have influence on or do, please go apply for one of the WWE creative positions that are so frequently open for enrollment.
What if WWE does proceed forth and puts Charlotte into the mix and the match becomes a triple threat at Mania? I would love to see Stephanie McMahon hand select Charlotte as Becky’s replacement against Rousey before ultimately having Becky cleared to also compete in the match. Oh boy, the heel heat that Charlotte could get in this scenario definitely intrigues me. I can see the pitchforks in hand and the torches lighting up the streets now. Sure, Becky is really popular right now, but I still do not think she is as popular as any of the past top drawing stars like Hogan, Austin, the Rock, Undertaker, and Cena. Her popularity is more derived from the vocal diehard fans that feel the more they Tweet, the more they shout, the more WWE will give into their demands. Becky is the itch for the niche. News flash people, not all fans want Becky Vs Ronda. I believe it just appears that way because of those very same diehard fans who take to social media and make it seem cool to chant and cheer for Becky. While the chants do translate to television and some extra shirts being sold (example Rusev Day), I do not see the increase in ratings and live attendance needed to make Becky a true megastar, in my opinion.
CM Punk said it best in 2011-12 when he said management just looked at him as another spoke on the wheel. Although Punk had a huge rise in popularity and relevance back then (like Becky today) he ultimately left the company unhappy because he never achieved his goal of consistently main eventing shows. Vince McMahon did not become a billionaire by pushing CM Punk and Becky Lynch type talents. Oh, I’m sorry, just revert back to Hogan, Austin, Rock, Undertaker, and Cena. The closest top drawing star since them has been a combination of Brock Lesnar (part time) and Roman Reigns, but unlike the cast just mentioned, Lesnar rarely appears and Roman’s push started during a time that WWE was more about becoming a brand with many stars than a brand with a single megastar.
It may even be safe to say that the women pushed as a whole can also be an argument for the declining numbers. As usual, only the diehard fans seem to really care. Why do you think Triple H caters to them with NXT? WWE is looking at dollars per head now more than ever, rather than the old school philosophy of asses in every seat. They want to maximize the most money per fan, and based on high revenues and increased stock price in 2018, that model has seemingly worked, despite declining live attendance and domestic TV ratings. WWE even knows that countries like Saudi Arabia and Australia are big fans because they sucked money out of them for watered down stadium events. Apparently, television executives at USA and Fox could very well be guilty of the same markish behaviors. And guess what? WWE has capitalized on it, despite the fans vocal outcry for change. Big spenders of wrestling product have always been known as money marks. The Khans will be the same way for AEW, which is why it will most likely thrive and succeed, at least in the short term.
Just to keep the vocal wrestling fans happy, I am not opposed to WWE having Becky win the Raw Women’s Championship at Mania. Regardless of the match type, I just want to see Charlotte in the mix so the diehard fans actually start getting doubts and worry about who will pin/submit who. Charlotte being inserted into the match would definitely cause some doubt about Becky winning. It would make the pomp and circumstance for Becky potentially winning all the more worthwhile. Nowhere have I suggested that WWE troll and have Charlotte win. Although, I could still see Rousey win the match and retain. I believe if WWE does move in this direction of a triple threat, which is still up in the air as I write this, the best scenario would be to have it an elimination triple threat match with Rousey submitting Charlotte in the first fall, and then Becky submitting Rousey to win the title in the second fall. This would create doubt, yet the result that the diehard fans want would win in the end. If fans claim that they would enjoy Becky Vs Rousey Vs Charlotte less than Becky Vs Rousey, well then, screw those idiotic fans.
Another major reason I believe many fans get so pissed and vocal about today’s wrestling product is because of the overemphasis on moves and style. For some reason, many fans today crave moves and spots over character and story, which absolutely boggles my mind. A majority of the characters are now just “wrestlers” and casual fans are not appealed because they know wrestling is a work. This probably explains why casual fans watch MMA more than wrestling. I feel this is why WWE has pushed Lesnar and Rousey so hard, in hopes to draw some of the casual fans back. The problem is the casual fans are not falling for this scheme because it is just a couple of talents. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster is still full of generic “wrestlers” to them, which most likely has them tuning back out. Most diehard wrestling fans are comical to me because they would actually rather see casual fans stay away just so they can get the exact product that they want. So much for wanting to see the wrestling business truly grow to the same heights it was in the 1990s, and all because of some selfish smarks who want their Whoppers their way and their way only.
Dare I discuss more about All Elite Wrestling and the ridiculous amount of overhype it is getting to further this discussion? Of course I should, but you are all going to have to wait until next time. Stay tuned…
2019 WWE & NXT Major Event Grades
NXT TakeOver UK: Blackpool = B
NXT TakeOver: Phoenix = B+
WWE Royal Rumble = A-