Amalgam Rhapsody: Sports Entertainment Enthusiast Submitted by LoneLee on 05/30/2019 at 03:26 PM
Needless to say, it has been a history making week in wrestling...er, Sports Entertainment? If you caught an unintentionally hilarious tweet posted by WWE this weekend then you share in that joke. Vince McMahon has been known for branding terms and names in his own for trademark purposes. And in some cases, just exiling words he personally doesn’t care for (hospital, shot, hardcore, etc.). The trait of an eccentric and meticulous evil genius. Sports Entertainment is a term that would be coined in the late 80s as a more sophisticated approach to present the product to potential sponsors. Remember that for later. Now let me ask, is it too far-fetched for me to believe that NO ONE outside of Vince’s bubble, or even aside Vince himself, uses that term? Well, it suits WWE to definitive perfection in their isolated world.
It’s not unusual for a brand to establish a name for its fan base such as Deadheads, Raider Nation, BTS Army, and so on, but we already have the lovely moniker of “WWE Universe” for that. “WWE is not a rasslin’ show” as Vince would say in an old mocking southern vernacular, it is and always has been a high level produced TV show with wrestling elements, much like Lucha Underground was (and still is hopefully if there proves to be another season.) That’s why we getall sorts of segments during a show not limited to matches. They feed us seemingly endless talking segments concocted by TV writers who have little to no knowledge of wrestling’s glamorous history. Much less have any relation to wrestling fans themselves. Everything from promos to even the matches are scripted to a T and micromanaged directly from the chairman himself. Since WWE has had a mainstream stranglehold over the business, it has left the original fan base looking for a more organic and athletic product clamoring for what it once was.
Wrestling itself isn’t dead, WWE’s way of presenting it are dead. What I mean bythat is as the industry and society as a whole continue to evolve WWE is stuck in its old ways. Yes, you’ve all listed these things before: predictable match outcomes, recycled formulas and ideas, overall laziness in continuity. These are all just some of the things that leave the consumer forced to watch a bland product. Even attempting to break into two brands that feel like carbon copies of each other leaves the mainstream fan with no real alternative. Of course, the real agenda of AEW is to change that.
I can’t count on one hand how many wrestling legend meet & greets I’ve attended in the past few months where somehow, some way, the conversation always turns to how excited they are for AEW. The main reason given is WWE just isn’t fun anymore and hasn’t been for years. Well sure, that’s a vague response and incites a cheer from the small gathering but WHY isn’t it any fun? Aside from the reasons above I’ve stated, there is one key element missing: WWE is not relatable to anyone. They follow suit in trying to keep a squeaky-clean image in 2019 by overly adhering to a PG-7 product. They aren’t trying to impress you or me, they’re trying not to offend anyone whatsoever. So much so, they’ve alienated themselves from anything to do with the wrestling business, or even the rest of the world that has come known to be, in favor of a goody two shoes product that doesn’t exist in this day and age.
I often make the mistake of writing my articles in the form of how I speak. But I give you the real me. It’s how I relate to you and anyone else that may stumble upon my ramblings. And I feel like the further goal of AEW is not only to make wrestling fun again but also to relate to the common person. Makes sense, right? Who better to relate to the common man than the son of the common man? They’ve already made great strides in promoting every creed and orientationwith welcome arms, even getting recognition from U.S. House of Representatives member, AOC. But I’m talking more along the line of confusing seclusion. “Universe,” “Superstar,” omission of words like “belt” and “number 1 contender” for crying out loud. Is it just for the sake of branding? Why make fans feel ashamed by dissimulating terminology we’ve grown old knowing and using? Is it WWE’s underlying mission to make us feel bad for liking wrestling? Most likely not, but they most certainly come off having values that could be perceived as being too pretentious. I mean hell, the original idea of having Monday Night Rawin the Manhattan Center was to showcase in-ring action in the middle of a fine dining setting. VERY sophisticated indeed.
Maybe WWE is meant to be for the quintessential viewer and wrestling fans are too low-brow. Or maybe a wrestling fan just wants something they can feel. Even though this muscle opera we dedicated ourselves to is knowingly staged, the trueaffection we share for it comes from the genuine hard work from everyone involved. My opinion: A "Sports Entertainment Enthusiast" is Vince's perception of a fan of his world, which is really just himself. A "wrestling fan" is tried and true to the heart of industry we know and love.