28-09-2011

Why do pro wrestling diehards–so-called “smart fans”–even watch wrestling?

It seems like a simple question with a simple answer: Because we love it. We love characters, the athleticism, storylines, gossip, rumors, podcasts, swag–literally anything connected to the business. We consume with an appetite like no other fan base. We want to be respected as fans and expect promotions to do everything they can to deliver the best wrestling possible.

And then we sh*t on them when they do–to the detriment of not only the wrestlers but the overall sport we profess to love.

Why?

Do smart fans actually love wrestling–or just themselves?

The main event of Extreme Rules Sunday night was a stark reminder of how insufferable smart fans can be. The match I was looking forward to most was Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins in an Ironman Match, two of the best wrestlers in the world going at it for a half hour was going to be quality.

WWE made the Ironman Match the main event, an unexpected move to many. WWE elevated not only the Intercontinental title but current champ Dolph Ziggler–one of the most talented performers on the WWE roster. Ziggler is a worker that smart fans have griped forever is rarely booked properly. This match being the main event also shined a brighter spotlight on Ziggler ally Drew McIntyre, who I loved watching retool himself on the indies as Drew Galloway. Rollins always delivers in anything he does.

Not to mention, it was a PPV main event without Roman Reigns in it for a change. I’m not a Roman hater, but how refreshing?

No matter how you dice it, Ziggler and Rollins put on a stellar match–that was painfully undermined by loud ass smart fans who instead of chanting for the action in the ring decided to countdown the Ironman clock in unison as if it were the Royal Rumble. So as Ziggler and Rollins poured their hearts out, the fans (mostly male voices, reminding me again why I often like women and child fans so much more), chanted “10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 BONK (imitating the Royal Rumble entrance buzzer).”

The Pittsburgh fans chanting the clock countdown were absolutely insufferable. It significantly ruined the experience for every other fan. I wanted to jump through my TV and strangle every one of them.

I wasn’t the only one.

I understand that being a pro wrestling fan, particularly a smart fan is a special club. The same is true of football fans. Baseball fans. Soccer fans. UFC fans. Republicans. Democrats. ParrotheadsJuggalos. The categorizations are endless. We all take pride in belonging to one club or another.

Human beings strive for identity–to be part of something larger than themselves–and it’s often centered on what they’re passionate about. As pro wrestling fans, we are also part of something many non-fans don’t understand or even respect. I understand the camaraderie that inspires. I’m one of you. I get it.

But when you disrespect the wrestlers, other fans, and the entire business by rejecting an attempt by WWE, Rollins and Ziggler, to give its customers–particularly smart fans–exactly what they say they want…

Is it really even about pro wrestling at that point?

Or is it all about you?

Because when it devolves into what we saw in Pittsburgh Sunday, one must ask: Do you even really like pro wrestling? Why are you even there? Why did you even buy a ticket?

To show up and insult the product–not as a customer giving market feedback when WWE underwhelms–but just… because? Look at me! It’s a clock! Hey, I’ve seen the Royal Rumble before!

You’re just an a**hole at that point.

This behavior is about getting yourself over. Period. It has nothing to do with your professed love of wrestling. Instead of ruining the main event, you should try out at the Performance Center. Call Gabe Sapolksy or Court Bauer. Email the ROH Dojo. See if you’ve really got what it takes. See if anyone will pay money to see you.

A “smart fan” is someone who is supposed to know the ins and outs of the business in ways casual fans have neither the time or interest to keep up with. But the cliche “being too smart for your own good” exists for a reason. It also shows you’re not really as smart as you think you are.

A smarter fan might realize we’re all here just to enjoy pro wrestling.

The smartest fans still do.

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