For anyone who writes columns on professional wrestling for hobby -- or for a living -- one would like to think that their voice matters. The wrestling industry is unique as unlike most popular TV and movies, the actions of what goes on behind the scenes (as far as we know) is up for critique just as much as the on-screen product. But with the recent passing of Brodie Lee, and the heartfelt, gut-wrenching tribute show on AEW Dynamite, I must pose this honest question:
Do any of these critiques truly matter?
With the outpouring of support and condolences from not just within AEW, but WWE talent as well, I beg the question of whether or not continued critique of a show is worthwhile anymore. Not to say those in the wrestling "writing" industry aren't allowed to voice valid criticism of how a match has been booked, or how a storyline has evolved/regressed, but at the end of the day -- is anyone really listening?
All Elite Wrestling prides themselves on being a company that listens to their fans, but are they keying in on the trolls on social media who are telling them that what they are doing sucks, or those attempting to uplift the product while simultaneously offering valid point-of-views? Are they even listening at all? I can ask the same of WWE, who are notorious for disregarding the wishes of their fanbase (or will actively fight against it).
Whether you write for wrestling websites and may be reading this, offer commentary on YouTube or podcasts, or are simply a fan active on social media -- after the passing of Brodie Lee -- is it that important to bash a product anymore? I know I have been guilty of this in the past many times in my general disdain for WWE, but we also saw a lot of kind words for Brodie Lee and his family from WWE superstars. Do these superstars care what we think, or how we value and rate their promos or matches?
Last night proved to me one thing -- that this is a community of passionate wrestling fans -- and I'm growing tired of this idea of "competition". Does it matter who won the Wednesday Night War? Does it matter if AEW is closing in on the 18-49 demographic for Raw? Does it matter if a wrestling match was too "spotty"? Does it matter if a start-stop push or storyline rears its ugly head on WWE television once again?
If the entire wrestling commentary industry (podcasts/YouTube/social media/opinion columns) were to continually attempt to lift the products up while offering grounded, positive, and smart critiques of shows, would every promotion benefit as a whole?
Yes, this article is a bit of kumbaya bullshit, but it could speak volumes to a bigger problem in professional wrestling. Let's stop comparing; stop competing, and simply start to enjoy what's on-stage. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that life can be fleeting, and fragile. I think as wrestling fans, and as human beings, we deserve to treat ourselves -- and each other -- a little bit better in 2021.
If Brodie Lee can bring an entire wrestling community together across multiple promotions, then think of what we can do as fans when we unite as one cosmic force.