Can a few bad apples spoil the bunch?
Yes, it most certainly can. In fact, if you want to science this even more, I will take a direct quote from an article on the McGill Office for Science and Society page.
“Because once an apple is rotten or has physical damage, (ie a bruise), it produces ethylene, which in turn leads to a slightly increased internal temperature causing a breakdown of chlorophyll and the synthesis of other pigments”
You see, toxic wrestling fans are metaphorically producing ethylene for the entire base. In fact, from what I can tell, it’s creating a collective illusion that is affecting many of us. Let’s remove these bad apples…
What is a collective illusion? It’s our brains effectively tricking us to misunderstand what others actually believe. It’s going along with an opinion you may not necessarily agree with, or have a personal interest in. You do so, because you think that’s the collective narrative, even though it may not be.
In this case; believing that pro wrestling fans are divided. Is that what we really believe at the core, and act out? Do AEW and WWE fans really dislike each other and center their wrestling environment around that narrative?
I think not.
In fact, I think a couple of bad apples are trying to spoil the bunch.
Examining Social Media Users
A recent 2021 study reported that a mere 25% of Twitter users make up a whopping 97% of the site’s posts. A large chunk of the 97% are mostly retweets by others. But as we’ve seen in most cases historically, the loudest minority can sometimes drown out the majority.
We see this frequently with troll accounts on Twitter that serve no other purpose than bashing another wrestling promotion for some imaginary war.
I won’t call these accounts out by name but you know who they are. And for those reading this, you know who you are.
It’s a sad state of affairs. These trolls have such low self-worth that they must dedicate so much of their time to bring down others to their miserable level. However, it’s not uncommon for those who can be easily influenced to simply go along with it, as if they “must” choose a side in this imaginary war between AEW and WWE.
So all of this negativity out there on the internet that actively tries to divide the fan base is done so by a very small percentage of actual users. Is there proof of this?
Why of course.
The Power of Thumbs and Hearts
WhatCulture’s Simon Miller is one of the best things happening in professional wrestling today. And he’s not even on our TV every week on TBS, TNT, Fox or USA.
As he says, he gives the “good bits and up, and the bad bits a down” on his review videos — and this is framed in a generally positive nature. It’s simple, really: If he enjoys it, it gets an up. If not, it gets a down. Most of the time, be it AEW or WWE, most shows receive more ups than downs.
Even this site’s very host in Aaron Rift tends to keep a generally positive outlook for both AEW and WWE for his NoDQ Reviews.
Is it possible that most fans are actually just like this?
Check the “thumbs” and “hearts” on Twitter and Facebook.
Words may hurt from trolls that set out to be miserable on the internet. However, be it AEW, WWE, or even NoDQ and other news sites, many posts receive an overwhelming amount of “likes” than comments.
Sure, you’ll always get your shitposters that have nothing else better to do than to comment negativity on a wrestling show. However, almost any post out there, especially on a promotion’s page, receive a TON of likes; well into the thousands sometimes.
Nobody just mindlessly “likes” something. It can be tracked publicly. It’s easy to simply press the “like” button with your thumb, but your brain is still actively doing it in approval. I would argue many fans simply “like” what they enjoy in a humble manner.
For the maybe dozen or so negative comments for any given social media post, there are usually hundreds, if not thousands of positive “likes”. Do Twitter trolls receive a fair amount of “likes” for their abysmal content? Sure, but it pales in comparison to to the positive reception that an AEW or WWE social media page receives.
In other words, their negativity is a meaningless blip on the social media radar.
Your Favorite Wrestlers Don’t Care
Saraya has gone on record to say that WWE talents don’t bash AEW at all. The same can be said from reports of AEW talents towards WWE (sans a few tongue-in-cheek shots from veterans here and there).
My point is that wrestlers are there to wrestle. They aren’t there as some part of an imaginary war. There many friends in-between promotions and they generally wish the best for their former co-workers.
Speaking of someone who dislikes Saraya…
Even Jim Cornette’s podcast (whom clearly goes out of its way to bash AEW), only gets around 60,000 listeners an episode. Remember, subscribers don’t always equal number of weekly listeners. If you check his engagement on his Twitter posts, it’s pretty low.
Yes, that’s a good amount, but far lower than the near weekly million Dynamite viewers, as well as near 2 million Smackdown viewers per week. Much like an internet troll, Cornette is loud, but he’s not representing the overall fan base.
I don’t see talents in WWE and AEW giving any weight to Cornette, nor to the many tribal fans that activity try to be toxic towards specific wrestlers. What wrestlers do receive backlash either ignore it, or perhaps address it and step away from social media entirely. Again, words from online bullies can hurt.
Because apparently, Mia Yim isn’t allowed to have male friends, Mercedes Varnado is overpaid, and Mandy Rose should continue to let WWE sexualize her on television, but not let her decide how she chooses to run her personal content.
You Can’t Fight a War Without Soldiers
We see this graphic a lot, as if these two companies are at war. But they aren’t, and their fans mostly aren’t either. Sure, you get a loud minority of haters on both sides. Yes, they’re annoying, and yes, their words can hurt.
But the large majority of fans enjoy their wrestling in humble peace.
Division requires activity taking a side. It requires an active effort against an enemy. In truth, we have a very small number of fans who have readied themselves for a war that doesn’t even exist, that nobody wants to have anyway.
As one Twitter reply pointed out to one of these anti-AEW troll accounts:
“You’ve tweeted about AEW 6 times today and it’s 1pm…
This troll’s numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of fans who actively like and comment positively on AEW’s actual social media page.
Based on “likes” on Facebook and Twitter, we can confirm that the majority of wrestling fans just want to enjoy wrestling.
What a concept.
Yet, overly active and miserable trolls online have inserted a narrative that doesn’t actually exist. The collective fan base is being attacked by bargain bin iconoclasts that have nothing better to do than to create divide — and ultimately fail at it.
We aren’t divided at all. Sure, we have preferences, but we aren’t angrily divided. We’re just wrestling fans who want to enjoy some based wrestling; no matter where it comes from. Having a preference of one promotion over another doesn’t mean we actively despise the other. Most of us humble wrestling fans are grown-ass adults; not childish pricks.
Don’t fall for the collective illusion. Many honest fans you talk to will like aspects of both companies, even if they have a favorite. We’re all in this together, and most of us are having a good time.
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