Hello everyone and welcome to the debut edition of The Shoot! I wish to thank WrestleView.com for allowing me to come on here each week and voice my opinions on the world of professional wrestling and to you; the fans of professional wrestling; who make the conscious decision to click and read my column.
Each week, I aim to focus on a particular topic either about wrestling or something related to the business and express my opinion on the subject presented. It won?t always be about the latest news headline, though, as opinion columns like that are a dime a dozen and we don?t need my two lira added to the 1,000 or so columns already out there about Jeff Hardy winning the WWE title. As the name of my column suggests, they are nothing more than one man’s opinion and it won?t always be agreed upon. To that I say: welcome to the internet.
That being said, it is often the first column that proves to be the hardest to write. It’s the debut column! It is the chance to show your material to the world and you want to dive right in and make a good impression right out of the starting gate. No pressure, right?
Of course, any good column needs a topic otherwise it would just end up as a bunch of nonsensical rambling just to fill space. So while I was mulling it over in my mind as to what to write about, the opening statement I wrote sparked an idea that was basic, yet so defining and seemed worthy of a first column. I?ll segue into that by saying that I decided to apply for this position because I am a fan of professional wrestling and enjoyed writing about my opinions in past columns for another website. The common link here is that the readers, who come to the site to read the news, are also fans of professional wrestling. So asked myself, what defines a fan of wrestling? Is it really generalized or is there more than just the ?garden variety? of fans out there?
This question came about after I sifted through and cringed at some of the outspoken opinions lately over at the ROH message boards. As it has been mentioned numerous times all over the internet, Gabe Sapolsky is no longer in charge of booking Ring of Honor. That ?honor? now goes to one, Adam Pearce. From the get go? even before the first official show under Peace’s regime has been booked, the fans reacted in disgust. Many felt that the end of Ring of Honor was upon us. They seemed more concerned about the booking and the direction of Ring of Honor more than the actual in-ring product. It was like they didn?t even want to give this new era of Ring of Honor a chance. While I can understand their passion about investing money into a product they believed in over the past six years of its operation, I am starting to wonder if the fickle fans of Ring of Honor are overstepping their boundaries by just shooting down everything that the company does. Have they forgotten about what being a wrestling fan is about or are they merely just being vocal because they are a fan of such a great product and they fear it will burn out and they?ll be left with the ?two evils? in the WWE and TNA?
So after asking myself those questions, I asked myself what defines a wrestling fan? I couldn?t find a simple straight answer to that question because there really isn?t one. To give the best answer, I asked myself how I became a fan of professional wrestling. I remember back when I lived in Massachusetts (I now live in Florida) circa late 1997. I had a friend named Roger who was into pro-wrestling. At the time, I viewed wrestling as that ‘stereotype? where it was just a bunch of sweaty guys rubbing against each other. I didn?t give it much thought at the time, but the more I heard Roger talk about wrestling on a weekly basis, I decided that I would give it a shot (we are talking about almost a full year later.) I looked it up in my TV Guide not really knowing what to look for. I saw WCW Monday Nitro listed in there with the description of ?wrestling? printed underneath so I decided ?okay this will do? and tuned in. What can I say other than? I liked it.
The next week, I forgot about Nitro and accidentally tuned into WWF Raw is War. I was unaware that it was a different program than the one I had previously watched the week before. That pretty much showed how much of a mark I was back then. Needless to say, I liked what I saw there as well. I then discovered WCW Thunder and WCW Saturday Night. I had never even heard of ECW at all until probably late 1999 when they went national on The Nashville Network? or as Joey Styles once put it: “The only network that still uses rabbit ears to broadcast nationally”. As for me, I knew that what I saw was fake, I knew what I saw was all scripted, but I enjoyed it because it entertained me. To me, it was no different than going to a movie, except the action and story was live in front of the camera. I doubt anyone went to go see an action film, stood up half way through, and yelled ?That’s fake!? into the theater. If they did, I hope you can provide me a YouTube link! The fact is the more I watched wrestling, the more I was entertained by it and the more I wanted to learn about it. I did extensive research on the names of the moves and even went as far to learn how they were performed and from that, I grew from just a mere fan to someone who viewed professional wrestling as an art form. Because of that view on wrestling, I grew a deep-seeded appreciation for the athletes who sacrifice themselves just for the sake of entertaining a mook like myself.
It is because of this view that has allowed me to watch anything out there. I mentioned Ring of Honor before because that is, currently, my favorite promotion. It offers something that WWE and TNA doesn?t and that is respect and dignity for the sport that is professional wrestling. Before I get lashed in reader feedback on that comment, please allow me to say that I also watch WWE and TNA on a weekly basis because they offer something that Ring of Honor doesn?t and that is the soap opera style story telling meshed with entertainment. Well? WWE offers that more than TNA. TNA offers? ‘something? along those lines. At this point, I believe I watch TNA for the wrestlers that entertained me in ROH and that’s about it. The point I?m trying to make is that I feel as if I can diversify myself when it comes to pro-wrestling. I look at wrestling with that appreciation for the business and I get my entertainment from that, but not everybody sees it that way.
Some people see it as an escape from reality, some watch it because they like the stories, some watch it because the wrestlers do something flippy, they watch it for a particular icon, they watch it because they?re curious, because American Idol is now over, or because you hate it, but your friend loves it and he was very lonely one night and he tempted you over to his house with promises of free pizza and beer. Everyone has their own reason for watching wrestling and we all have our reasons for being a fan of professional wrestling? even if that means you show your passion by nitpicking a promotion to the point where you nitpick your own nitpicking just so you have something to complain about on the next new thread that pops up. Being a fan of pro-wrestling is about expressing what you feel makes you passionate about wrestling in general, but one thing I have to make a side note of is that sometimes expressing yourself repeatedly in a negative fashion isn?t always the best approach. All that serves to do is to develop a bitter community that can?t enjoy the product that is put in front of them which, in turn, influences others who still do enjoy the product to become disenfranchised with it or, at the very least, become less tolerant of those who just don?t know when to shut up.
After all that, I?m interested in what makes you a wrestling fan or how you even got into watching pro-wrestling. One of the features of this column that I wish to unravel over the next several weeks involves responding to reader feedback. I know that’s a little clich? and is often times seen as a ‘space filler,? but when I read columns in the past, I liked it when columnists responded to their readers because it gave me a chance to see more than one person’s opinion and I found that to be quite interesting.
That being said, this will wrap up the first edition of The Shoot. Now that the ?hard part? of getting the first column out there is out of the way, I promise next week that I?ll have something a little more interesting to discuss. If you wish to drop me some feedback, the e-mail is up top. If you e-mail me, I?ll promise to send you free pizza and beer. This offer is only good until the end of the column and is void within the United States and any country not named the United States. No purchase necessary. Details inside.
Because I can.