Going Broadway: Which Type of Wrestling Fan Are You?

It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…

Good. You’ve made it this far. It is my experience that most would simply read the headline and interject a comment nobody asked for on social media without even reading the piece.

This happens a lot…

If you did  get this far and are reading this article, feel free to comment with “Minus 5 Stars!” on social media. It may troll others who didn’t read this article into thinking it was total shit.

Unfortunately, many will comment on this article without reading any of it. Psychology has a term for this, and for fun, let’s break it down like Chris Warren and the DX Band. We can look at other types of fans, as well.

The Dunning-Kruger Fan (The Smark)

This is a psychological term named after psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. It defines the effect as a cognitive bias that causes individuals to overestimate their knowledge or ability. This is especially true in areas where they have little to no experience or expertise.

Anti-Vaxxers, Conspiracy Theorists and Climate Deniers fall into this category outside of the wrestling world.

This is the kind of fan that grossly overestimates their own wrestling knowledge. Their opinions are strong, but usually anecdotal. They are always the first to state flaws in booking, and who is and isn’t being “buried”.

They’ve never remotely worked within the wrestling industry in any capacity, yet, they somehow know everything. They believe everything they read, assuming it fits into their pre-conceived wrestling biases.  Magically, they know who draws, who doesn’t, and who should and shouldn’t hold a championship.

Don’t be this fan. Nobody likes them.

WWE Fanboi

This is the type of fan that you’ll often catch criticizing any company not WWE. You’ll catch these toads in the comments section basking in a report where AEW’s ratings have dropped one week. They will insult every other promotion at every possible chance.

New Japan? Overrated. Impact Wrestling? Glorified Indies. AEW? TNAWCW 2.0.  These are the type of fans who will shit on another promotion for not having decades of wrestling history and expensive sets for their large shows. They will defend every WWE booking decision made, and always point to the sheer amount of money made by the company as a benchmark of immortality.

Are you a WWE Fanboi? If so, fine. But perhaps enjoy it a little less annoyingly?

The Elitist

On the flip side, you have fans that are a bit too all elite. I’m largely an AEW fan, and rarely ever watch WWE. But even AEW has its share of problems. AEW is where parasocial relationships can have the potential to form the most. Many AEW stars aren’t household wrestling names, but they’re big enough to attract a large enough following for a million viewers per week.  Many AEW stars are more accessible than WWE stars.

Many AEW fans may believe that they “get” the business and are always on the cutting edge of the industry. Whether that’s opening the “forbidden door”, bringing back blood and guts to the mainstream, or normalizing excessively high workrates and long-term storytelling.

There is also a part of this fanbase that will shit on WWE at any chance they can. This is not becoming of AEW fans, and only makes the wrestling fanbase as a whole look bad. Stop doing this.

If you’re an AEW fan, great! But AEW won’t be the cool kids forever. Some within this fanbase could use some humility.

The Casual Fan

This one’s an easy one. The fan that probably doesn’t care to know what “workrate” means, or the glossary of insider wrestling terminology. They won’t pick apart a storyline, nor care how a wrestler is booked.

They just want to have some fun.

They are likely tuning into WWE because that’s still what most people associate pro wresting with. However, I can see some checking out AEW, since it’s on a major network. They may not know who Bray Wyatt or Aleister Black are, but they definitely know who The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Undertaker are.

These are kind souls that just want to enjoy pro wrestling when they get the chance. If you’re a smark, leave these fans alone. They mean you no harm.

The Anti-Smark

These fans go out of their way to rip apart fans in the know. They are the antagonist to smarter wrestling fans, and are the ones likely to question any news story that comes out of Dave Meltzer.

These fans are usually the ones complaining about the fact that others are complaining, even though they are also complaining. They tend root against internet darlings, and lean towards the big, beefy boys of Vince’s liking.

They also tend to hate journalists for some reason. As if every bit of news on a wrestling site is “fake” yet they indulge in complaining about said news.

As a former journalist myself, reporting on wrestling is not the same as reporting on regular news. There are nuances and differences, and these fans don’t really get it.  (perhaps a future article?)

There is nothing terribly wrong with this type of fan, but sometimes they need to know when to quit.

The Misogynist Simp

This could be a fan who longs for the Attitude Era, where women were mostly objectified and turned into a joke. This fan will usually go out of their way to tell others that women’s wrestling isn’t a “draw”. They will base their favorite women’s wrestlers on their looks over their ability, and make inappropriate sexual comments on social media towards their favorites.

Even though a vast amount of *free* porn exists on the internet, they put their energy into simping after other unattainable women. They are usually almost always transphobic and are making childish jokes at the expense of Nyla Rose, Candy Lee, or Veny.

These fans will simultaneously put down women’s wrestling while hiding their adolescent hard-on during a match. These are walking thirst buckets.

Don’t be this fan. Nobody likes it, and we all have to grow up someday…

The Corporate Fan

This is a fan that rates success strictly by financial earnings. New Japan, AEW, WWE; there’s no discrimination here. All that matters is the payola. Shady WWE Saudi Arabia deal you say? How much are they making from it? Sign me up!

Who won the ratings war? How much is the company making from ad revenue and merchandise sales? The wrestlers that draw the most money are clearly the best. 

For some reason, this fans cares (and critiques) other promotions based on their financial numbers. This fan is weird, because why do you care? Why take pride in a company’s financial success in which you aren’t remotely apart of?

You do know money is a finite concept that exists mostly because our deteriorating social structure calls for it, right? I mean, you can’t take it with you…

Anyway, don’t be this fan.

Indie Warrior

Screw WWE, screw AEW, and screw New Japan. I’m cool and you’re not. I watch TRUE Indies wrestling. I don’t have a WWE Network subscription, or a cable subscription to watch TNT. Oh no, only Fite TV and IWTV for me.

GCW, ICW New York, Stardom, WOW, Beyond Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Noah, Dragon Gate; now THESE are wrestling promotions! Who needs the likes of Roman Reigns and Kenny Omega when I have Lee Moriarty, AR Fox and Warhorse? Who needs Becky Lynch and Britt Baker when I have Willow Nightingale, Skye Blue, and Trish Adora?

For the record, every Indies talent I listed (especially Willow Nightingale, Lee Moriarty, and Trish Adora) are really damn good. But the point stands.

There is nothing wrong with these types of fans, until they start bashing any mainstream promotion. This even includes Impact Wrestling or New Japan. It’s just not necessary. Lots of great wrestling exists in the indies, but it also exists in the mainstream as well.

The Bona Fide Fan

You don’t pledge allegiance to one specific promotion, nor do you bash other companies. You know a lot of wrestling, both historically and technically. However, you know that you likely do not know more than many actually working within the industry. You don’t claim to be an expert, nor claim to know exactly how any given wrestler/match/segment could have been booked better.

Again, you have a lot of general wrestling knowledge; much  more than the casual fan, but you don’t flaunt it. You simply enjoy wrestling (in all forms and companies) for the artform that it is. You may even not care for Dave Meltzer, Jim Cornette, or Eric Bischoff. You can think for yourself, and you can see the good (and bad) in every wrestling promotion.

You just want to watch some damn wrestling.

Please be this fan. We need more of these fans in our industry. Fans who won’t make us all look bad with sexist comments, or unnecessary trolling of other fanbases and companies. You respect the craft across all platforms and are generally positive about it.

Going Home

So how did you do? Did I miss any?

I know that there are many who could fit into many of these categories, and that’s okay. There are also fans that enjoy their chosen promotions without bashing others, and I give those fans an ultimate nod of gratitude. They may only follow one promotion, but they do so quietly.

Whether you’re a WWE, AEW, or Indies fan, can we all just aim to be the best fan we can be? I guarantee that once many stop publicly complaining and just enjoy what they watch, they will become better fans.

Any negative fans work against the industry as a whole. Don’t be this person. It just makes all of us look bad.