Your Life as a Wrestling Fan
In the muddled land of social media you exist as a product. Your personal data is mined through and sold to corporations, your “tastes” combed through and advertised back to you through complex algorithms, and these conglomerates wait in anticipation for you to mindlessly stare at a small screen so you can get your next dopamine hit as you robotically reach for your phone.
We are in a dark age of the internet, where users are no longer users, but consumers. However, there still exists millions of unique and fulfilling pieces of media and information in cyberspace (outside the realm of social media) right at your fingertips at any given time.
Are you using it to complain about professional wrestling? Be honest.
After his loss to Bret Hart in the semifinals of the 1993 King of the Ring Tournament I didn’t think to myself “Man, they sure aren’t using Mr. Perfect to the best of his talents.” I never worried about the potential booking fallacies of Wrestlemania X-7 so much that I stopped playing WWF No Mercy and took to the internet in disgust.
There’s a good chance you didn’t either.
Unless you make money, or especially a living of off professional wrestling news and opinion, then your complaints will surely fall on deaf ears and evaporate in the ether of internet trolls. Bryan Alvarez, Bruce Prichard, Conrad Thompson, NoDq’s own Aaron Rift, and even Jim Cornette (whom I disagree with a lot) can make an honest living off of their educated opinions and critiques of professional wrestling.
“So what, just because I don’t run a wrestling podcast or a news site, my opinions mean jack?”
Yes and no.
The Hard Truth
Unless you currently attend WWE/AEW production meetings backstage, have prior experience as a professional wrestler, booker, producer, or agent — or unless you’ve reported on the business within the wrestling news industry over the last decade or so — I hate to break it to you, but your opinion means very little to someone working from within the actual wrestling industry — at least not in any constructive manner.
And this isn’t a bad thing, but it’s the truth.
This doesn’t mean your opinion isn’t valued or less important to the wrestling community as a whole, but there is truly a fine line between expressing a well thought out and legitimate comment and coming off as a hateful troll. There is nothing worse than a WWE or AEW fanboy defending their product while bashing the other as if it means anything.
We can learn a lot from the old saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Which in my mind means that if you can’t contribute to a wider discussion beyond insults and rantings of an internet troll, kindly shut up.
You Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into
By now you know what you’re getting with each product, as WWE and AEW deliver uniquely different wrestling programs. You’re not going to watch The Walking Dead and wish it was more like American Horror Story, would you?
Much in the same light, I’m not going to watch WWE Raw tonight and expect multiple lengthy matches with high workrates and stiff movesets. I’m not going to watch AEW on Wednesday and expect long, scripted promos and short matches.
In fact, I won’t be watching WWE at all, as it’s just not my cup of tea for pro wrestling. I may check in here and there, and I may even throw on Wrestlemania if I have the random urge, but I’m not going out of my way to see the product.
Because once you know what you’re getting yourself into, you can practice this concept called not watching something you’re going to complain about. Imagine the wrestling community you could live in if most fans simply stopped complaining about everything. What if you simply enjoyed what you know you’ll enjoy?
The Wrestling Community
We could really become a wrestling community that respects the differences in the products as opposed to pointing them out and insulting them publicly. All it takes is a bit of self-awareness and the realization that our collective opinions mean more when we’re using them to build up the wrestling business instead of tearing it down.
Delivering legitimate constructive criticism along with praise where deserved is how we make this community a less toxic place to be in. Other fanbases in other genres do it, and it’s not that difficult.
A lot of us just need to stop being jerks.