Rhys Rants: Wrestling Fans

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What’s that, a ‘Rant’ article? Haven’t done one of these in a long while. I wonder what has got me ticked off on this occasion.. . . . . . . . .well this is going to go well.

So, to those that have been keeping up with my articles as of late, you should know I’ve made more of a re-transition into profession wrestling themed articles. These can include some more mainstream products reviews like things from WWE or TNA, or they could cover my reviews of live shows that I have been able to watch or even help out at in the local area. I do these things not because I was asked by someone to look into these things, but because I like wrestling. I like it so much that as I’m sure you may know by now, I am currently training to become a professional wrestling myself. But even if I wasn’t doing this, I would still consider myself a “wrestling fan”.

When you are a fan of any given topic, you find something about it that draws you into its own unique world, maybe it relates to you somehow, that’s how it usually is with anything. With wrestling, people tend to like different aspects of it. The talent that is a part of the shows that take place, whether they be male or female, and the level of athleticism that they are capable of performing. Maybe it’s the actual matches themselves and how they are able to tell stories without anyone speaking a single word. Mentioning this, it is also a form of physical contact that is capable of telling verbal stories much like most forms of media can through different stories and characters that are placed in the shows. People may like the atmosphere of the larger than life production of bigger named promotions, or they may like the homely vibe of local shows with their (usually) lower production values where you can see wrestling in a sports centre or bar type of area, or people may like the intimacy that these smaller shows produces compared to the bigger shows they see on television or online.

There are many more aspects of wrestling that can captivate anyone, but whatever those may be, people choose to be fans of this weird, weird business. And usually when you are a fan of something you want to see it do well, and if you can, you’d do anything in your power to see it do well. That’s why people buy tickets to shows, both for the bigger shows and even the local ones. They want to see the talent involved do well for themselves. They want to make them as big as they portray themselves in their characters and cheering for those that they like, and boo the ones they do not. However, there are some instances where ‘fans’ do something that questions whether they are truly loyal ‘fans’ or not.

See the whole concept of Wrestling to someone who doesn’t really understand it all that much is not a very good one, whether that be through past steroid involvement, or the concept of it as a whole, or whatever, but the majority of the world doesn’t seem to really like it all that much. Some may question the whole notion of wrestling as a whole, OR they may question those that follow wrestling.

Now one aspect of this I may as well mention quickly is through the use of what you are all using right now to read this article, the internet. Much like with any form of social media, anyone in the world can see something and say whatever they want without any real consequences for their actions. If they see someone disagreeing with their opinion on something, they will have no problem with issuing death threats to them and their loved ones. Wrestling ‘fans’ are just as bad. The second you say something that doesn’t agree with them, they will not have any of it. Foul language, insensitive comments, death threats, and other unacceptable behaviour, all because someone didn’t agree with their opinion. And when someone they dislike does something they don’t like, they get even worse, if it can even get worse that is. Where social media is integrated with everyone in this day and age, even professional wrestling has had to make this transition and talent has also had to do the same thing. With most of them using tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, people can get interactive with each other so much easier, but that of course leaves them open to much disapproval from those who enjoy the concept of bringing misery and annoyance to people’s lives.

Speaking of annoyance I may as well stop there as that can be a whole topic on its own, and mention how wrestling ‘fans’ are doing more to get themselves noticed as opposed to the people who are working on the shows that paid to see. Recent examples I can think of are those who attend the live recorded shows of WWE’s NXT shows. In these, you get to see some of the freshest talent getting into the WWE advancing in their careers as those newly signed to the company and to see if they can make it to the higher view shows like Raw, SmackDown and of course, their many Pay Per View Events, or is it Special Events now with the WWE Network being a thing? I keep getting confused by that.

Anyway, those that watch these shows live tend to be of the young adult range, a more ‘energetic’ attendance than most common crowds who go to see the main shows live. It’s more of that independent feeling that I mentioned earlier. It’s more advanced than local promotions in the country, but still has that feeling about it. However while most of the times people at these shows genuinely want to see all these new faces do well and make it onto the bigger shows, sometimes they may do more to hurt the shows overall value as opposed to improving it. Because believe it or not, sometimes a wrestling crowd can turn a show from good to great. Or even from good to bad. They may either hardly react at all and not case for those that are performing for them, or you can do things like these louder crowds may do sometimes – like chanting irrelevant things during people’s matches, chanting non-stop without many breath breaks to the point of being annoyed at all forms of speech around you; or they may start dancing and doing all of these things and paying zero attention to the match in front of them. Those on the hard camera may particular do this on shows, and the “hard camera” is a wrestling term for which section of the audience is being focused on. So naturally, when you have rowdy youngsters who watch these shows and know where they will be sitting when the shows air on television or online, they for whatever reason, feel the need to do things that can sometimes take away from the match in front of them.

An NXT example recently for those that needs one as the “HEEEEEEEY! WE WANT SOME BAAAAAAYLEEEEEEY!?” chant where they dance non-stop, during matches where Bayley, their current NXT Women’s Champion as I write this article, isn’t involved in. They may even still do this when she is in the match. You want Bayley? She’s right in front of you, are you all short sighted or something? Or maybe you have Chorea or some dancing disorder of some kind, seeing as you cannot sit still for more than a few seconds. Doing acts like this not only makes it unbearable for people who are watching the shows from home, but also to others in the crowd who just want to watch the matches in front of them. And as a knock on effect, it will give other idiots at home to do this at other local shows, especially since more adults than anyone tend to watch NXT these days since people see NXT as WWE’s Younger Hipster brother who wants everyone to see him. People relate to the underground vibe it gives of and they can relate to it. So when they see people at these shows acting idiots, guess what? They will create more idiots.

Another example of what people doing things to ruin things for the talent by their actions is not investing in them in the right way. Now as fans we should be able to cheer or boo whoever we want you know. That would be fine with established people in more known places like WWE (main shows and NXT), TNA, ROH, Lucha Underground and others of that like. But what about local promotions in your country where people may not know of your existence? If you are looking to make it in the independent business, you need to be taken seriously. You need to let people know whether they should cheer you on when they get knocked down, and other need to let people know that they don’t need their support and that their character should be despised by people. But of course there are people who may like to boo the heroes and cheer the villains, people may like the character more than the side they are fight for you know, annd that’s fine, but when you are starting you don’t do things that will hurt their character in any way. I’ll mention two examples real quick that will be mentioned in my future Dragon Pro Wrestling Revolution article that should be posted before the New Year. Ooooooh, suspense! Now in two different matches we had people who were relatively new to the promotion and the eyes of the people. One talent was the typical happy-go-lucky kind of guy who wants to make a name for himself in the world of wrestling. Now during the match while people cheered for him as well as his opponent since both had the same attitude that the live crowd liked, very much UN-Lucky for him, it seemed that his parents were in the crowd. Now it’s always nice to have support from your family like this, but when they start cheering for their boy, *Insert real life name here* over *Insert wrestling name here* and make a habit to yell out that “his boxers are showing?, you are doing more harm than good at making him look like a legit competitor for that promotion. If he was named one name, don’t call him something else and attempt to embarrass him when he is having an important match, unless he made it a deliberate point to have his boxers showing, which he did not I’m sure.

The other talent in a different match was a monster of a man who should strike fear in the hearts of those that he comes into contact with. But during this show as he was still new to the people, they didn’t know he was this so, except for a select few who maybe knew this, but simply didn’t care. He had a few people there in support for him, likely close family, which again is not a bad thing and it’s brilliant than he had loved ones there to suppose him. But when you are holding up badly made signs, have a child with a face painted like him and are cheering for him as if he is the next coming of Jesus Christ, he will give that impression where they’ll think, “Oh, they are cheering for him? maybe we should too since we don’t know him enough, and they seem to!?” when actually, he didn’t want to be cheered. And this hurt his opponent, who wanted to be cheered, but the crowd just did not care for him, and some even booed him. And after this match, that small group that came for him, seemed to disappear, or stay very quiet to the point of not being there, paying little interest in the rest of the show, especially if they left after.

I know common wrestling fans may not know that doing certain things for certain talents can either make or break them as viable characters, but if you truly support them as either friends, family, or fans, you need to give them reactions that they deserve, especially when they are beginning their careers. How else are you supposed to be taken seriously when you the exact opposite of what they want you to do?

Now you’d think that all of what I said fan interact is not so bad, and yeah I can agree to some level. People go to these shows, and especially if they pay for their tickets, they have a right to act however they want, so long as they don’t do anything to really impact people around them? But what if they do? There are some ‘fans; out there that get so invested in the product they watch that it can create some very hazardous situations. By this I mean people lately, now more so than ever, have been physically involving themselves in the show. In live events for WWE in the past several months, people have been throwing items at the talent, jumping the barricade to get them noticed, or even jumping the barricade to try and attack the talent. And with acts like this taking place in the biggest wrestling company in the world, you know there are morons out there who want to do it anywhere they can. At lesser known mainstream places people have stolen items from talent that they brought out with them during shows, they have attacked wrestlers more, grabbing the managers, announcers or referees during matches, and many more things that could definitely be added to the ‘gone too far’ list of things to NOT do.

It’s a viscous circle of idiocy that’s running wild! ? That’s a pun to those who got that. I just do not understand the mentality of these people. Why must you ruin the fun for others by putting more attention to you instead of the people who are actually a part of the show?! But here’s a scary thought, honestly – what if it gets worse? In a world where in the last month or so we have had terrorist attacks in different countries, Paris still ringing in our minds and hearts, or thoughts of potential bombing that could take place by higher ups, our world is quick the dark place to live in. But in the end, people doing these acts are also idiots.

Now in no way do I want to compare wrestling fans to terrorists because that would be a horrible thing to do, but what if some of these ‘loyal’ and ‘caring’ FANS took from these deplorable examples since they are still fresh in everyone?s minds? I mean it has happened before in different ways. One instance had a ‘fan’ overstay his ‘welcome’ at WWE’s state of the art Performance Centre in Orlando, Flordia; a welcome that he never even got as he got into trouble with them in the past to the point getting himself a restraining order from them. He had an infatuation with one of female talents there that day and wanted to see her, or something. But he wanted just wanted to get noticed by them so badly that he would still show up outside their doors, ranting cussing, posing and banging against their doors and other things of such disturbance. He even threw his own fees at their walls – I don’t even have the right words to – I don’t – who would do… *sigh*

Anyway he had to be gunned down after the last incident by police. There was even a supposed ISIS threat on the WWE at their Survivor Series event this year where they threatened to bomb the venue, having the FBI even comment on these accusations. Luckily nothing bad happened, even if it were not to be true in the first place. But WWE themselves have had to be extra careful on the items people bring with them to events. I mean I?ll be going to their NXT London show live next week, so naturally I’d want to take my small PlayStation One bag to carry my wallet, train tickets, maybe a few bottle of Diet Coke and snacks as I can imagine the food and drinks costing a bomb? that was not intentional I swear, my apologies. But I don’t think I will even be able to take my bag because of how tight security it these days.

Now what if people like this shown up as lesser secured shows, like say some of the shows I help out at in Newport? What if someone, heaven forbid, jumped a railing and straight up stabbed one of the talents. It could happen, people may see these recent terrorist attacks as something to act alongside and do so wherever and whenever in the public, and them happening at a show of any kind would not be so different to them. They may have the mind-set of “Oh, if this wrestler I don’t like isn’t around anymore, everything will be so much better!” When in actuality it could lead to the loss of a human live, the grieving of friends, family and many fans of theirs, and that person a long time in prison. And I’m sure there are people who may think this now, it may actually happen in the future, and it likely will somewhere, someplace, which I don’t want to think about ever.

Honestly I know by talking about all of this it will only put more emphasis on the bad reputation that wrestling fans and what they are doing recently, but people need to be aware that you cannot do things like this. If you are truly a fan of something, just be a fan, a TRUE fan. We are all allowed to have free speech and an opinion, of course. But we have to be smart with how we use this free speech. If we want to see something or someone succeed, react to them the way they want to be reacted. By doing this they will enjoy their job so much more by you treating them with respect. So please, just don’t be idiots. There’s enough idiocy in the world as it is, let wrestling be one escape that we can all enjoy. Don’t ruin the fun for everyone else. Have a good time, but be smart about it. That’s not so much to ask is it?

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