Is This How I’m Supposed To React?
May 11, 2015
By: Doug Lackey of Wrestleview.com
It’s very difficult for me to collect my thoughts right now. I sit here in front of my computer, trying to find the starting line and the hurdles that I need to jump over to get my sprinting point across. Instead, I’m just going to barrel through the hurdles, leaving splinters of wood behind me, and cross the finish line leaving nothing but debris in my wake.
WWE should stop broadcasting ‘Raw’ from outside of the United States.
There. I said it. I’ll let this sink in and let your ferocity seep through your nerves causing you to immediately scroll down to the bottom of the page, finding the ‘Comments’ box, and unleashing your relentless fury into the empty space within.
For those of you still reading, I can lay out my reasoning for this outlandish claim.
It’s an argument we have heard time and time again from those unhappy with a product in professional wrestling, whether it be from WWE or as far back as WCW: Stop forcing (insert performer here) down our throats. You hate it, I hate it, we all hate it when someone tells us we’re supposed to like something or someone when we firmly believe we have the deductive logic to reason why we do not want to or the freedom to believe we have the right to like or not like what we want.
“Stop shoving this guy in front of me! I don’t care about him! Why is he/she champion?! Why is he/she in the main event?! (expletive) this!”
We hear it, and occasionally say it, week in and week out. Don’t force your opinions on me, I can form my own. Don’t tell me who is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I have a brain. Whenever we subconsciously say these words of decisiveness and intuition, we are often telling them to those who are producing the show. It is those that are putting the performers and programs out there for us to cast judgment on, to determine if it is viable for our consumption.
But it is not just the producers, writers, and owners of a federation that are ‘force-feeding’ us to like certain performers or storylines, it is the live audience as well.
Just as often as a performer or a program is taking place, it is the audience in attendance that is making the decision for you if it is worth your time or not. Through random chants of excitement (“This is awesome!”) or boredom (“JBL”), or from non-verbal cues of intrigue (standing out of seat) or despondency (arms folded, looking at smartphones), live audiences have more of an impact on how you should perceive a performer or storyline than the actual producers and writers of said performers and storylines.
Sure, you can sit there and say ‘But I agree with them!’… but then who is being force-fed now? There are professional wrestling fans who do not share the same sentiments those in the live audience share, and there sure as hell are many that don’t agree with you. What about them? Just as you complain about being force-fed stuff you don’t agree with, others are being force-fed stuff they don’t agree with, but you do.
Just so it is understood: Professional wrestling should be what you want it to be, not what anyone else thinks it should be. It is your entertainment, your escape, no one else’s.
Thus, I return to my original claim, why WWE should no longer broadcast from outside the US.
We heard the audience chanting ‘Holy s**t!’ after a simple dive through the ropes from Dean Ambrose onto Seth Rollins. We heard anthems of “This is awesome!” erupt from every match lasting longer than 15 minutes. We saw fans clamoring for JBL during a match involving a performer who had one of the most lavish entrances in Wrestlemania history. Montreal has professional wrestling fans that are most certainly unique, but should never be followed by ‘This is how professional wrestling fans should react.’
Those eight words should never be uttered. Just as much as you say you hate having Roman Reigns shoved down your throat, I hate having performers doing moves that I’ve seen for over 30 years passed off as a gift from God shoved down mine. If I had a dollar for every time I saw finisher kicked out of, I’d have the gross GDP of China in my bank account… and it’s not awesome! It’s redundant!
A performer ditching a gimmick that he had been working for 2 months to reclaim through new theme music, a new persona, a new valet, and new ring attire… completely dropped and reverted to what he was known for over 2 years ago on a whim in New Jersey and never grew from since that time. This was done just so that the live audience in the United Kingdom could act in unison to the man that is Fandango. How have crowds reacted since that night? Has production and writing done anything to keep the momentum of the crowd going? Sure, Lana danced with Fandango… but no one in the crowd was.
Think about that, all that work to reclaim a performer, destroyed for the sake of a crowd to dance and sing to your old theme song. When you come back to the US the following week, you’re welcomed with chirping crickets and stares into cell phones.
Why don’t I want WWE to broadcast from outside of the US? Because outside of the US, I’m force-fed something I don’t like… an obnoxious live audience. An audience that mocks what I enjoy. A group of people who are insulting me on television. How would you like it if your favorite professional wrestler was on television and everyone in the live audience turned their back on them? How would you feel?
You don’t want Roman Reigns in main events. You don’t want John Cena holding a championship belt of any kind. You don’t want this… you don’t want that… You have the option of not watching. What I like is on television right now, but I cannot enjoy it because the audience on the same show won’t let me.
Your reason for not watching WWE: I don’t like the product.
My reason for not watching WWE: I don’t like the fans.
What you like and what I like are completely different things. The biggest difference between my opinions of professional wrestling and many others is that I don’t mind if something I like does not happen or if something I don’t like does. It is completely unfair of me to force my view on what I believe something should be on those who most certainly don’t hold the same views or opinions as me. We have our differences and conflicting definitions, but we all agree on one thing: We enjoy professional wrestling.
Follow Doug on Twitter: @dougwrestleview