TKW: How Old-Fartism is Hurting the Wrestling Industry

“(Modern matches) have too many head-spinning and unnecessary gyrations. They give the impression of being rehearsed.” – Frank Gotch, 1913

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, old-fartism is a: “contemptible or tiresome person, especially one who is old-fashioned, stuffy, or close-minded.”

It’s worse, though. It’s a virus. Are you suffering from Old-Fartism? Symptoms include; wheeziness, stuffy nose, constipation, verbal diarrhea, skin rash, brain aneurysms, and zombie-like behavior. 

Listening to podcasts from Jim Cornette, Eric Bischoff, Konnan, Disco Inferno, Dutch Mantell (and others), can worsen symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your medical provider — or just watch wrestling and enjoy it for what it is in 2024. 

An entire group of bitter jaded fans don’t even watch wrestling through the lens of a fan anymore — but as a pseudo-analyst. How can anyone truly have fun watching an artform they allegedly are passionate about when they can’t even enjoy it without uber-critiquing it first?

But as we’ve seen above, the old farts with wrestling podcasts have taken advantage of gullible online fans who can’t think for themselves. Instead, they parrot what they hear as if it’s truth, and decide that they’re “experts” for it.

Shouldn’t veterans help put over younger talent instead of insulting them and where they work? That’s usually the industry standard, is it not? Help the future generations, right? Yet these toxic takes are becoming detrimental to the wresting business as a whole, and they’re only making the entire industry, in which WWE and AEW are both profiting successfully in, look bad.

And before anyone responds — no — they aren’t giving honest critiques, and no, this isn’t an ageist piece (more on that later).

With that…


No, They Aren’t Helping

That’s the weird narrative that gets thrown around these days by supporters.

“They’re industry veterans. They know more than you!”

No shit.

“They were around at wrestling’s biggest peaks! What do you know?”

Nothing. I’m a dumb Indies mark that thinks a bodyslam is so boring that I might change the channel if they aren’t doing a backflip afterwards.

“They’re right about today’s “soft” modern industry!”

Which is why they all still have jobs within the industry, right?

…oh, so they don’t have jobs? Oh, so any former wrestler with a few hundred bucks and a PC can start their own podcast? Here’s the truth about this: They aren’t helping. All they honestly do is complain; not constructively critique. I went back and listened to a few podcasts by some of the above; Russo, Konnan/Disco, Bischoff, Cornette.

…and while it was hard to stomach the continued body-shaming and racist comments by Cornette himself, I came to one conclusion.

Some old-timey online wrestling fans just aren’t too bright.

They’re taking what amounts to constant complaining, degrading, and downright puerility (look it up, it’s a word), and pass it off as “critique”.

Simply calling a segment “bad” without context isn’t the same thing as good faith criticism. Pointing out TV ratings drops without context of the modern industry (both WWE and AEW have dipped in ratings over the years) is bad faith. Simply not liking something or not understanding something — and then complaining about it — isn’t helpful.

What could the product be doing better? How? Offer booking alternatives, ways they can improve, cool ideas, etc. Don’t just sit there say what amounts to “I don’t like it” and move on. Also making random sexist comments (Russo/Disco) doesn’t help the industry move forward, either.

Body-shaming wrestlers isn’t constructive. Coming up with cute pet names for talents is something an 8-year-old might find amusing. Simply stating “the booking sucks” without insight is no different than an old man shaking his fist at the sky. Stating “I don’t get it” and passing that along as criticism isn’t criticism. Being a straight hypocrite about a dangerous spot when your own promotion has done worse spots in the past is not helpful.

When you’re a grown man trying to troll a wrestling promoter for fake internet points (I’m looking at you, Bischoff), can we call that constructive?

There is a lack of understanding of the modern industry and modern fans. Especially a misunderstanding of how modern fans watch wrestling; and that the number of Indies/New Japan/Stardom fans are bigger than they realize.

But this old-fartism virus has led to a larger problem…a zombie apocalypse.

The IWC Zombie Apocalypse

Meme: @WrestlingMark16

It’s created a plethora of online fans who wish to feel so important that they will say anything for attention. Few are thinking for themselves, and most will just mindlessly parrot what others are saying; mostly about AEW.

“There’s no stories” “Too many high spots” “I don’t know this wrestler” (insert low-IQ and uninformed comments about ticket sales and TV ratings here). A hoard of zombies can’t deal with the fact that other fans like a different type of wrestling than they do. So they mindlessly follow narratives of old farts who struggle to understand modern wrestling as is.

As a huge fan of AEW, Stardom, NJPW, and Indies wrestling myself, I can’t figure out why the following premise is so difficult to understand; and that is this:

There are enough AEW/Indies/Puro fans out there now to successfully support a #2 promotion. We like a different style of pro wrestling, where stories are told differently than what casual fans are conditioned to. Matches are often stiffer, more violent, faster, and our knowledge of global talents far exceed the average viewer. Matchups are just as important as stories in the modern wrestling era. 

Instead of simply leaving this be, many zombies have instead parroted their favorite podcasters and influencers who don’t understand that premise, and come after AEW fans like myself for simply liking a form of professional wrestling.

Case in point:

An X user, and fellow AEW fan Molly Belle, makes a pretty simple take online. It reflects the nature of this very article.

And the responses to this were predictably toxic: 

When your podcast is recorded in the gutter, it will attract gutter rats. 

And it’s not just those desperate blue-check-marks, either. Known anti-AEW influencers do nothing to help the industry overall and only contribute to the toxic environment. This goes for any anti-WWE influencers as well.

It’s stupid. It doesn’t help the industry. It makes us all look bad as fans. And some of these particular fans are influenced by these same old farts with podcasts.

There Are Good Wrestling Veterans Out There Creating Content

Stevie Richards Youtube

No, this isn’t an ageist piece, either.

Bully Ray is an example of a veteran who actually understands how the business has evolved, and will give solid criticisms in either direction. He’s not mean about it (from what I’ve listened to), doesn’t seem to favor one brand over the other, and just enjoys what he watches and gives good faith comments and critiques.

He even understands that he has to watch AEW in a different light, as they are an alternative. A conditioned casual fan will not see AEW the same way they do WWE.

Stevie Richards and Maven are also good examples of veterans that aren’t toxic in their comments or presentation. I enjoy watching their content, and especially with Stevie, as he is extremely constructive in his critiques towards either brand. He’s honest and non-toxic, even if I may disagree with him at times.

And further more; to the veterans that are actually working in a company: Jerry Lynn, Dean Malenko, Sarah Stock, Billy Kidman, Molly Holly, Jamie Noble, etc., are actually doing it. They are the veterans that pro wrestlers are listening to because they’re getting paid by AEW and WWE to do what they do.

Most Importantly…

Pro wrestling is in a boom period right now. WWE is hot, and AEW is heating up. Both companies are successful.

If these bad faith podcasters were “right”, then wouldn’t the opposite be true? Wouldn’t the proof be in the pudding? Wouldn’t all of this “terrible” wrestling lead to poor revenue and bad ratings?

Yet WWE is breaking revenue records and selling out arenas, and AEW saw jumps in tickets, PPV buys, and overall company revenue in 2023. Two major wrestling companies are doing very well in 2024. But you wouldn’t believe it if you only listened to these old farts with microphones.

Wrestling Has Evolved. Get Used to It.


“I just hope that when I’m old and retired I don’t lower myself to some shit ass podcast where I trash the younger generation that’s just chasing the same fortune wrestling has afforded me.” – Adam Page

Wrestling has evolved. Even spots you wouldn’t normally see on WWE TV are done more frequently due to AEW’s influence. Athletes are bigger, faster, stronger, and can do more than their counterparts decades ago.

No, a DDT is not a finisher anymore. Much like running the ball up the middle is largely ineffective in today’s NFL. No, not every single move has to be laced in psychology. Sometimes you just go out there and do cool shit. Kind of like how modern NBA players have mastered the art of the three-pointer. You don’t see much defense anymore in the NBA, and that’s because everyone got very good at shooting. There isn’t as much offensive strategy anymore in the modern game.

Sports, movies, TV, books, and even the internet — they all evolve. In most cases, this means more flash, more speed, more violence, and more shock. It’s the nature of our own dopamine; and how our dopamine baselines change over time in which what entertained us decades ago may not have the same effect.

You don’t have to like it. But you need to at least understand it for what it is. Complaining does nothing to change it.

It’s why a lot of old movies, television, and for that matter, pro wrestling, (let’s say from the 50s-80s) seem a bit slow and unexciting compared to modern times. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but it’s just different now.  Hell, my favorite all-time movie was made in 1995, and favorite TV show in 1993.  But I don’t view modern media through the lens of the past. Nobody should.

Parting Words

Hags like Cornette, Bischoff, Russo, and others — have not caught up with the modern times. And they never will. If they at least tried watching the modern product through a different lens, and commented within that context, I could give their opinion value.

But most times, it’s just endless complaints through the lens of their own experiences 25-30 years ago, and that doesn’t help the modern industry at all. It’s worth pointing out again that the industry is doing just fine, regardless of what their complaints are. 

But it’s created a toxic hoard of followers who can’t seem to properly ingest the modern product in a constructive and healthy manner. And that’s sad — because while nothing is ever perfect, there’s a lot of fantastic pro wrestling happening right now (WWE/AEW/Stardom/TJPW/TNA/NJPW, etc), and we could use more positivity in recognizing as such without childish trolling, both from fans, and from old farts with a podcast.

You can aim to understand how the sport has changed, or like Frank Gotch in 1913, stick with the point of view that there’s too much “headspinning and unnecessary gyrations” in the modern product. And if you instead remain an old fart in mindset, one day, like these podcasters and slow veterans, you’ll also become a bitter and irrelevant wrestling fan long after they pass away — and the sport of pro wrestling will live on without you.

@tokusenpuroresu (I’m barely on social media)