Have We Learned Nothing From Hana Kimura?
As of the time of this writing, Shotzi Blackheart has deleted her Twitter account due to excessive bullying from fans. If you can call them fans…
Anonymity is perfectly fine in the modern internet era — especially when so much of your personal information is at risk online. I write behind a moniker/pen name to maintain such anonymity. I’ve written under a few pen names, actually. If this was my career it would be a different story, but writing columns is just a hobby for me.
However, when you use the protection of anonymity to bully others, it sets a terrible precedence for others to follow. Unfortunately, too many fans take to this sentiment and bash talent, or make negative comments towards both major promotions.
Too often these come from Twitter accounts created for the sole purpose of bashing another promotion and their talent. You know who these twitter accounts are. It may seem easy to waive off immature and childish troll accounts, but they have lasting consequences.
Words hurt. And it begs the question. Have we learned nothing from Hana Kimura’s death?
Hana Kimura R.I.P.
Hana Kimura was not bullied by other wrestling fans. She was tormented by fans of a reality television show she was partaking in that led to her eventual suicide. As a response, Japan has passed an anti-bullying law where online insults can land you in prison for up to a year with a fine of 300,000 Yen ($2,200) — something I wish the U.S. would do.
This is progress, but what saddens me is that this hasn’t translated to American fans. Wrestling bullies in the fanbase are just as bad as other pop culture fanbases that mock and ridicule other celebrities. Still, hurtful words by so-called wrestling fans can have an impact on a wide range of talent. I’ve even seen insults hurled at referee Aubrey Edwards — a damn referee. Seriously?
The point is that when these insults are hurled so effortlessly, and without caution, they can stick easier than one may think. The awful comments originally made to Hana Kimura aren’t at all much different from some of the crap I’ve seen from others who insult pro wrestlers.
We’ve seen the mental health struggles of many pro wrestlers; tragically, including Daffney, who took her own life in 2021.
Even if her loss wasn’t due to online bullying, it drives home the point that these are human beings with real everyday struggles, just like you and me.
Mental Health Matters
We’ve seen the focus on mental health in the industry for some time now. In 2021, Trish Stratus and Lilian Garcia helped launch Tag Me In, which is an initiative to raise mental health across the industry. Some of your favorites suffer from various forms of mental health struggles, too.
Brock Lesnar has social anxiety. Sasha Banks has suffered from depression. Rhea Ripley, Alexa Bliss, and Big E have all had bouts with mental health struggles.
On the AEW side, we know Jon Moxley had a very personal battle with alcoholism, and Eddie Kingston opened up in a recent Players Tribune article about his mental health battles. “Hangman” Adam Page, The Blade, and even Sting have all had levels of mental health conflicts in their past.
Professional wrestling is hard. Why are people continuing to place talents in both major promotions on some pedestal on which they can insult them openly? They have enough to worry about aside from unsupportive “fans” that seek to bring them down to their level through hurtful words.
Is it That Hard to be Positive?
Yes, yes. Shotzi criticized Jericho’s fall off a cage at last year’s Blood and Guts into a noticeable crash pad filled with boxes. Karma is a bitch, right?
Two wrongs do not make a right. Jericho shouldn’t have been criticized for wanting to take a SAFE bump from a top a steel cage, and Shotzi shouldn’t have been criticized for a few botches during her Money in the Bank match.
Guess what? Everyone botches. It’s a part of pro wrestling. There is a way to make light of botches and sort of laugh with the botch and not at the talent. Even so, it’s not something to call out publicly either way. Very few get to do that, (like Botchamania), but even with Maffew, it’s been long established that the series runs in good faith, and not to outright insult talent.
What needs to happen is a lot of fans just need to actually respect the business and stop being terrible people. This includes larger Twitter troll accounts whose clear objective is to add to the wrestling tribalism among fans and “pick sides”.
There’s a difference in being JUST pro-WWE or pro-AEW, and being pro-WWE/anti-AEW, and pro-AEW/anti-WWE.
It’s stupid. Your favorite wrestlers will think very low of you if you partake in any of this. And if you happen to follow one of these accounts; unfollow, unlike, and call it out. Why waste time on negativity when pro wrestling is here for our entertainment?
The bottom line is that Hana Kimura’s death was preventable. Online bullies pushed her to the brink. Such pointless negativity from bullies affects more wrestlers than you probably think.
This needs to stop, and other writers, wrestlers, and influencers need to call this shit out on a larger level.