Why Wrestling Forums Should Make a Comeback
Once upon a time, long ago, there was a place wrestling fans gathered to discuss their favorite pastime. A place where the trolling was minimal, the discussion was fruitful, and everyone (mostly) got along.
This magical place was a wrestling discussion board (or forum). And yes, I know some still exist to this day, but they are nowhere near where they used to be roughly 10-15 years ago. In my eyes, this was the pinnacle of wrestling conversation; the next level up after Usenet forums.
So what happened to its popularity? Frankly speaking, we have succumbed to the dumbing down of our entire culture through the toxic dumpster fire that is Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. Hell, many in this country don’t even have a culture — it’s just large numbers of individuals adapting forms of materialism and entertainment to define who they are.
Social media has become the virtual version of commodity fetishism, and—
Okay, I’ll stop. Wrestling, right? So let’s dive in, and for those who never got the chance to use a wrestling forum way back, perhaps could check out what forums are left in this world. With that, this is why wrestling forums are miles better than modern-day social media, and need to make a comeback.
A Sense of Community
There are current examples of communities that exist in the wrestling ether. Wrestling Forum, F4Online, and Wrestling Smarks offer their own dedicated forum space. Reddit offers plenty of sub-reddits dedicated to pro wrestling, and even NoDQ has a Facebook group.
But wrestling forums in particular have long lost popularity in favor of modern-day social media, which is easier to access for more people. However, unlike Facebook or Twitter, when you belonged to a forum, you actually got to know your fellow posters. You built a repertoire and usually gained the respect of others.
If you straight up trolled the forums, made blatant offensive remarks — you were simply suspended, or banned. To some extent, Disqus serves this same forum purpose, but a Disqus account can post on any website where the program is embedded. You don’t get the same sense of community.
This is largely missing now in the current age of social media. Everyone mostly just throws their opinions into a large pile, toxic or fruitful, and most of the time nothing is gained from it. In wrestling forums, you actually had to work towards a reputation with your peers. You actually made friends with others across the globe, without the conditions of followers, memes, and biases.
In short, you chose a virtual wrestling family to hang out with. Unfortunately, we don’t see this as often as we should.
Believe it or not, many of us argued a lot less on wrestling forums. During the mid 2000s, there was a similar zeitgeist as there is now. Only it was the split between TNA/Indies fans and WWE fans. Even though both promotions did some pretty cringeworthy stuff during this time, it was never held against either fan base to the points of extreme tribalism.
Not so extreme that either fan base couldn’t appreciate if something good happened in WWE or TNA. In fact, in many cases, WWE and TNA (or New Japan/Indies) threads were separated. Rarely would you see a fan jump into a forum to comment on something they didn’t even watch or don’t even like.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works on modern social media, and in Disqus/Reddit; where many fans continually negatively comment on a product they don’t even like or care about. We just weren’t that divided on wrestling forums. We mostly stayed in our lane, even if we watched both mainstream products at the time.
And if users got out of hand — we had moderators to maintain the peace.
Britt Baker, Alexa Bliss, Saraya, Riho, and a host of others, would probably prefer the days of wrestling forums. There just wasn’t as much bullying going on.
Sure, you had folks that dabbled in trolling. You saw heated conversations and hurled insults. But they were kept to a bare minimum — and if a line was crossed, a moderator would use the almighty banhammer.
You’re going to likely bully people less in your community — because everyone knows who you (or your internet moniker) are. And of course, some created multiple accounts where by their low post count and member rating you could tell they were there to troll. But this just wasn’t as common as your common Facebook and Twitter trolls of current day.
Furthermore, you couldn’t bully other talents, be it WWE or AEW, right to their virtual face on Twitter. These people are the lowest of the low. While yes, you could talk all the shit you wanted about Britt Baker on a wrestling forum — she’s not likely to see it. Nor should she.
These are real people and performers with real lives. I feel like sites like TikTok and Twitter has made a lot of users forget that.
When you take all of the factors above you get one thing: Better conversation.
It’s easy to get lost in the endless threads on Twitter and Facebook. And most of the time, you aren’t going to get through to anyone in any given conversation. If you get past the mindless insults/misunderstandings/inaccuracies and actually make a point — you’re probably never going to talk to that person ever again.
In forums, you can talk to people off and on to further a larger wrestling conversation. You might even learn a thing or two from one another and appreciate their different wrestling preferences.
In fact, wrestling forums have been (and probably still are) the breeding ground to share cool wrestling shit with one another.
I know that I learned so much in my forums heyday about other wrestling promotions around the world. I was exposed to matches, styles, talents, and ideas about what wrestling is and what it could be. You don’t really get that in the current times of social media bubbles.
On modern-day social media, nobody really speaks to each other. It’s just a barrage of shitposting, memes, insults, and bullying. And those who have the loudest social media voice in the wrestling world tend to be the biggest dumbasses.
Remember users avatar/signature combos? They still exist to this day on other forums. Shout out to this particular one featuring one of Stardom’s newest stables (Club Venus). Forums allow for more creativity in general, which is greatly missing on other platforms.
Simply from a user’s avatar/signature combo, we can take a quick dive into their preferred wrestling fandom. It was an easy way to get to know someone, especially if user’s interests lined up. This was especially true for “watch parties” for PPVs.
And how about e-feds?
Yeah, they were nerdy as hell — but damn fun if I recall. I was in one many years ago where a forum I was on had 10-12 “owners” of their own created fantasy promotion. We would then hold a large draft where talent is picked by the respective owners to fill out their roster. Soon the weekly shows would commence, and the owners collectively voted on the best shows for the week.
It was a lot of dumb fun — fun that you just don’t get anymore on social media — along with a certain level of creativity from wrestling fans.
I’m just promoting this absolute future banger of a match between Mercedes Moné and Mayu Iwatani for the Women’s IWGP Championship on April 23rd.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in social media, and other faceless forms of communication. Now I appreciate privacy, and much preferred the days of the internet where your moniker carried it’s own crafted personality. You protected that moniker, even if meaningless in real life.
Because at the end of the day — Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Disqus, Reddit — none of it is real. But instead of the attitude of “yeah, so why does it matter?” I carry an attitude of “Why not just be chill with one another instead of being so divisive?”
It’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of toxicity on mainstream social media. But it’s just not really like that on wrestling forums. Perhaps we need a wrestling forum revolution. What would happen if so many fans spent less time pointlessly arguing on popular social media and instead actually engaged with other human beings in a friendlier environment that is a wrestling forum?
I think we’d all be better off for it.