The Internet Wrestling Community is Dying – Here’s Why


I feel like Twitter particularly, it brings the worst out of everyone, and it’s the worst version of everyone, it’s the worst way for people to interact. I think everyone should just drop it. -Jon Moxley on Hey!(EW)

You’ll have to excuse the length of this article. If you want to jump the very bottom summary, I wouldn’t blame you. But I do have a very basic solution for the issue outlined in the headline that absolutely nobody will likely pay attention to.

Regardless, this might be the last piece for quite some time, because I did something incredible over the last month that I would recommend to any wrestling fan:

I got the hell off the internet.

Ten, maybe twenty years ago, the internet was used as a way to escape reality. However, now, reality is used to escape the internet. And while we see this continued dark cloud over the netspace and social media with many fandoms and political/social tribes, the Internet Wrestling Community has become an extension of a worsening internet culture.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t another “dude complains about wrestling fans” piece. From writers and wrestlers alike, we’ve all done this plenty. But what I realized in taking a solid month off is a larger indicator of where things are going in the internet wrestling community. One truth keeps revealing itself over and over.

The IWC is dying.

We aren’t having great conversations or gaining new insights anymore are we? We spend more time complaining and armchair booking (as if we all know better) than learning or consuming unique wrestling content and enjoying a brand for what it is (or isn’t).

How can the IWC remain relevant at all when it’s inundated with trolls, parody accounts, bad faith actors, or bots? Does the majority of what is said or shared really even matter at this point? Does anyone here truly think WBD, USA, WWE or AEW corporate care one iota of the opinions of the internet fanbase at this point? We’ve all mostly made ourselves look like fools over the past few years.

But before we jump into this mess, can we take a look back to a simpler time for a hot second?


How We Used to Watch Wrestling

As an AEW fan, it was kind of incredible to watch Dynamite and Collision without worrying what the internet thinks. There was no combating of false narratives, no eye-rolls to the usual bottom-feeding trolls.  I wasn’t concerned with ratings or attendance figures. To take inspiration from Simon Miller:

I simply enjoyed the good bits, and moved past the bad bits. No show is perfect. Never has been.

And isn’t that how we’ve always enjoyed pro wrestling? During the mid-late 90s, even as an ECW/AJPW fan that favored WWF — I still watched WCW. I still enjoyed certain parts of the WCW product, even up to the very bitter end. And the parts I didn’t enjoy, I just ignored. I moved on.

I didn’t feel the need to jump on ICQ or Usenet to bash one product or the other. In fact, when it comes to Mondays, we just changed the channel until something we liked was on either show. Even in the early 2000s with TNA as a distant #2, I don’t recall as much hate as we see now for either brand on wrestling forums and chat rooms when compared to today.

Even Better…

Remember when you were actually done with the internet for the night? You possibly even logged out of your home PC. You logged out of your favorite wrestling forum or chat room. More importantly, the larger IWC was stronger back then because it was segmented into personalized communities. It wasn’t the random poisoned melting pot that social media has become.

I was a part of a forum that had its own e-fed, fantasy football league, PPV watch parties, and even a podcast with wrestler interviews (mostly Indies people, but iykyk). Disagreements about wrestling occurred in general discussion, but within the community, we were at least respectful about it. If you were a part of a community, you had a reason to remain part of said community so you didn’t actively troll or lash out. There was a certain level of honesty to your online presence, even if behind a moniker. You had to work at being a decent person to achieve some level of acceptance within said community.

This doesn’t exist anymore, does it? There are few, if any, localized communities. We are now terminally online with X and Facebook. We are always connected, yet so very disconnected at the same time.

And guess what? People are starting to realize this and leave.

X Is Losing Users

While Facebook still plays a small part in the IWC, it’s safe to say that X/Twitter is where the highest soapbox of the wrestling community exists. And the users in this space are leaving — including myself.

In fact, according to a 2023 study by Edison Research, Twitter/X usage dropped by 30%. That’s pretty significant when you think about it. That is a lot of users that are deciding to visit the platform less and less. Some are even getting rid of their accounts entirely.

And can we blame them? Unfulfilling conversations, engaging with trolls, bullying, being hit with misinformation — this exists everywhere on the platform, and it goes well beyond pro wrestling.

There are still a large amount of wrestling fans that just want to talk about pro wrestling without being judged, labeled, bullied, or trolled. And this goes for both sides of the fandoms.

Posting on X is almost like shouting into a void at this point. It’s irrelevancy has little to no return or echo. Are there reasons I can point to for this?

Yes, a few, and let’s dig into a few of those…


It’s Not Tribalism, but Social Sorting

Tribalism may exist to an extent, but what the divide really has become is a level of social sorting. Our brains like to order the chaos in the world. In short, we can’t always internalize the notion that every person is unique, with their own experiences, ambitions, influences, and preferences — and said people act on a wide scale of impulsivity and predictability. Our brains naturally want to sort the world out, and this includes humans, and by default, even wrestling fans.

Being ‘Team AEW’ or ‘Team WWE’ is one thing. Placing judgments on those fans is another (something I have admittedly done myself).

-If you are an AEW fan, this now means you love flippy Indies-style wrestling with zero psychology, will blindly believe Dave Meltzer, hate anything WWE simply because it’s WWE, and worship the ground Tony Khan walks on. They can do no wrong. Who needs storytelling?

-If you’re an WWE fan, you don’t actually like wrestling because you prefer promos, will defend Jim Cornette to no end, hate anything AEW simply because it’s AEW, and worship the ground Paul Levesque walks on. They can do no wrong. Who needs wrestling when you have storytelling?

While yes, there might be a very small percentage of fans that both of these statements may apply to, these are extreme outliers. More importantly, with the level of social sorting that has come with labeling oneself an AEW/NJPW/Joshi fan, or a WWE fan, you are immediately categorized and put into a box you never asked to be put into in the first place.

And this has created the continued divide we see in the community.

Tribalism can be healthy if both sides are respected and differences can be appreciated. But social sorting has given everyone a perceived built-in bias that rarely leads to actual conversations; and instead, leads to harsh judgements.

A large cause of this divide is what are called engagement farmers.

Engagement Farming


Conversation on X is mostly useless now (even well beyond pro wrestling). Most “influencers” have reduced themselves to communicating via catchphrases, memes, retweets, and “hot” takes to further narratives. Whether those takes are laid in truth or not is irrelevant.

More importantly, you simply can’t have a legitimate conversation in this format.

There are users on X (and Facebook) that exist only to rip into the perceived competition. This consistent trolling breeds negativity, which increases engagement. This is what is known as a form of engagement farming. 

When speaking to a few of these engagement farmers in an honest moment, even the idea of commenting on positive aspects of a product (to paraphrase their words) “doesn’t get many responses”.

X knows this as well. The algorithm isn’t necessarily setup for you to exist in an echo chamber like some believe. In fact, echo chambers really don’t exist. You are privy to plenty of opposing opinions online in the hopes that you’ll engage with them; albeit from a negative mindset.

But anger breeds engagement, and the validation-desperate farmers have quietly turned the internet wrestling community into a hoard of “pick-me” girls. But instead of desperately seeking validation from men at the expense of other women, these influencers desperately seek validation from other wrestling fans, but at the expense of the sport itself.

And it’s not just random users, either. Even Eric Bischoff jumped the shark and has openly trolled, re-tweeted, and berated others on the platform. This was once the man leading the charge in the war against Vince McMahon and the WWF; now reduced to a common internet troll.

But it get’s worse…

Wrestling Personalities Are Not Excluded


We have seen this behavior from wrestlers and bosses as well. Tony Khan is well known to have stirred the pot in the past for his remarks that sound like they’re coming from any other internet troll. C.M Punk, Dax Harwood, Seth Rollins, the list goes on of talents on both sides who have actively started shit. Even Paul Levesque isn’t immune to this behavior for his many shots against AEW, albeit not on social media.

Podcasters also fill this role. As mentioned, Eric Bischoff has become a parody of every anti-AEW mark out there with his social media activity and new podcast. Bully Ray (who I personally like and think is mostly fair in his criticisms) still actively retweets and berates other users, as well as Dave Meltzer, Glenn Gilbertti, Ryback, Jim Cornette, etc.

Unfortunately, these are the “leaders” (if you want to call them that) of the IWC in some form. However, they simply tend to be the loudest in the room regardless if their takes are accurate or not (or at least reasonable). They are well known wrestling personalities, and their opinions carry weight. However, most of these opinions only serve to further an already wide divide between fan bases.

They are usually only reaching people within their own like-minded followers, pushing away other dissenting views, and turning their personal fandoms into one large circle jerk.

This isn’t how things used to be. Are we just cool with remaining in a low-brain mindset, constantly slinging shit at each other, without seeing the bigger picture and damage it’s causing?

Nobody is Really Having Conversations Anymore Because…

This nightmare fuel brought to you by AI…

When you have a space where narratives are bastardized in 280 characters you, can’t really have full conversations, can you?

Good luck having an in-depth conversation with anyone on X or Facebook without it devolving into a series of memes, false narratives, and embarrassing clapbacks. While many pro-AEW and pro-WWE accounts do exist to merely put over their favorite brand (and this is excellent), even the simple enjoyment of said wrestling brand causes haters and dissenters to come out in droves to shit on that thing you like.

And why is this? Because X is too big.

This isn’t the days of wrestling forums where moderators exist, users could get banned for bad behavior, and a sense of community was present. You had to work your way into a group and gain a level of respect while conducting yourself in a decent manner as a fan.

However, in the present day, you could be the worst person in the world online and it really doesn’t matter anymore. And because of so many voices without community that are aimlessly wandering about in the FB/X spaces, we get overwhelmed.

We can’t possibly speak to everyone, can we? So we wrap up our opinions in neat packages, usually in memes, or less than 280 characters (unless you want to be kuso dassa くそ だっさ and actually pay money to be a troll).

And since nobody is really having honest discussions, narratives never change or evolve, do they? And worse over, fans are actually kind of getting dumber…

Fans Are Becoming Ignorant


Group think amongst younger and more impressionable fans has led to a level of dumbing down online. This was present in a tweet I read on a commenter who told another that they wouldn’t have liked all the blood and violence in ECW (when referring to AEW’s occasional blood).

The response from the other user was that he didn’t remember any blood or violence in ECW. Then mentioned Jack Swagger, C.M. Punk, and The Big Show.

This person was referring to WWE’s version of ECW, and not the true form from the 90s…

And look, if you were born in the late 90s and didn’t start watching wrestling until the 2000s, you really only know that mainstream pro wrestling can look one way. That isn’t your fault. Nobody should shy away newer fans just because they aren’t up on their wrestling history. That’s like knocking me for not knowing much about the WWWF in the late 70s, as I wasn’t born yet.

And here’s where I go on a little bit of a biased tangent but when mainstream pro wrestling is only presented one way for nearly 20 years, and that’s all many newer fans know, it can lead to some culture shock when promotions like AEW, New Japan, DDT/TJPW, or GCW are presented.

And this narrative is expanding. Even to the point where some online are starting to favor promos over the actual wrestling itself.


Stating that promos are more important than the wrestling, especially when the story is historically told in the match itself, is like saying you watch pornography for the writing and plot. You’re not there for the story, you’re there for the fucking. If you aren’t watching wrestling for the wrestling, then why are you investing in a story via way of a promo when you could just go watch a movie or traditional TV show?

End Rant.

Ignorance has led many fans to not be able to appreciate that wrestling comes in different shapes and sizes, and while older fans know this, younger fans are being told by influencers that alternatives like AEW and others aren’t what “real” pro wrestling looks like. Nobody is really around to teach newer fans otherwise, and it’s bringing down the collective IQ of the IWC.

And that just hurts the business and the talent overall.

Opinions Are Becoming Irrelevant


Take all of the above into account, and you realize that opinions are becoming more and more irrelevant as time goes on. Users are leaving X, and wrestling fans are slowly aging out. Remember that the median age for both companies’ fan bases are in the 50s.

I’m far from 50, but there comes a point where pointlessly arguing online about pro wrestling becomes extremely unfulfilling. The few fulfilling conversations I have had in this era are few and far between, and I imagine many others are starting to see it in the same light as I do.

Without community, and without respect, why would most fans stick around? Especially when I’ve personally gotten so much enjoyment out of wrestling without the internet?

And with active X/FB users making up less than 10% of weekly viewers as a whole, our footprint is only shrinking. All that matters at the end of the day is who and what demographic tunes in, either via cable, or in the case of WWE in 2025 (and possibly AEW), Netflix or Max.

Just wait until AEW is renewed by WBD to the shock and dismay of many — and to the surprise of no one who actually understand how all of this works…

tl;dr version…


There are two key factors to pulling ourselves out of the metaphorical barbed wire table.

First, recognize that we are spoiled, and that we’re missing out on expressing the gratitude that is much needed at this point. Nobody expresses their gratitude towards the current state of pro wrestling.

Remember when we had WWF, WCW, ECW, and if you were a tape-trader or internet savvy, AJPW/AJWPW, FMV, NWA, and more? We didn’t worry about TV ratings, attendance figures, or how a storyline should be produced on television. We were just gracious that we had so much wrestling around us.

How can we revert back to this mentality? Well…

Second, we need to just be more positive. Simple, eh? However, the folks that are trolling, and making negativity part of their brand, ie; engagement farmers — are not happy people. The negative sentiment online is a reflection of one’s personal life, and clearly, there are many that aren’t well. Spending your free time on going after low-hanging fruit for fake internet points is not a sign of a person living a truly fulfilling life. I’ve been there before. It sucks; but I knew when to pull back.

And when I pulled away for a month I truly realized how awesome my life was. I am a privileged person, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Great partner, good money, solid career, safe area — and I even get to attend TJPW’s Summer Sun Princess from Tokyo’s historic Korakuen Hall in less than two months (I’ll get flack for that one from the old-timers..). Why the hell am I worried about the internet when it’s become such a negative place?

Many of us generally don’t need the IWC anymore — not in its current form anyway. Perhaps that’s why being here can suck so much — because everywhere else in my life is great. So why hang around this shit show?

The Future

So what do we do?

We could get off X, break off into communities and start up wrestling forums again. Or even find a happy spot on Reddit’s SquaredCircle forum — but even that space gets crowded.

But humans are addicted to anger. They’re addicted to the vicious social media cycle that is present in all fandoms and walks of life. This includes pro wrestling.

It’s as if we’re all just content to wade through this swamp. And maybe that’s just the harsh reality of it. But the wonderful thing is that we get to choose whether nor not we want to participate. And like me, many may simply choose to exit the online space. The vitriol, unfulfilling discussions, and barrage of engagement farming trolls just isn’t worth it anymore.

The IWC is dying — and perhaps that’s a good thing. There are more important things in life than talking about pro wrestling, no matter how much we enjoy the craft. And unless wrestling forums make a comeback, I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.

P.S.: I’ll be back for a predictable victory lap when AEW renews their TV deal — unless ya’ll want me to start writing about Joshi. 🙂