The 7 People You Meet as a Pro Wrestling Fan (And How to Deal with Them)
Greetings and salutations, Bleacher Report readers. And welcome to the debut Cewsh Reviews article on your fair site. In short, we at Cewsh Reviews review wrestling shows, but there is always plenty more to talk about in the wrestling week. So now you'll be privy to our catalog of lists, rants, fashion critiques and whatever else happens to come up along the way. We're great, you're great, let's make some greatness together.
Today, we'll be examining the seven different kinds of people that every open wrestling fan will encounter at some point in their life. These people may turn out to be relatives, friends, acquaintances or the doctor who does the surgery to remove the cucumber after you challenge Brock Lesnar to a fight in a farmer's market.
Whoever they are, when they learn that you are a wrestling fan (due to your super awesome Tatanka t-shirt, no doubt), it is more than likely that every single one of them will fall into one of these categories. And while up until now you just had to rely on your quick wit and charm to diffuse a potentially awkward situation, the social scientists here at Cewsh Reviews have devised a foolproof method for dealing with each and every one of them.
The Condescending Friend
Identifying Quote: "You really watch that stuff?"
Method of Attack: Play it off.
By far the most common of all of the people on this list, the condescending friend, upon learning of your wrestling fanboy tendencies, will react with confusion and mockery, like he just found out that your middle name really is "Penisholster." Generally, these people have never really given wrestling a thought one way or another, aside from a vague suspicion that it is stupid.
They'll be among the first to suggest that wrestling is fake and cartoony, but won't really have their heart in it, and these people can usually be diffused with a simple, "Yeah, it's a tv show that I like. They do some cool stuff on there." or a "Pssh, it's not half as stupid as *thing your friend likes*."
If your friend is a guy who is way too into My Little Pony, for example, this is the easiest segue way you will ever have to make.
Note: It does seem like women have to deal with this particular group perhaps more than any other, probably due to social stigmas causing them to be mocked for liking things that are traditionally for boys. Should you ladies find yourself in a situation like this, we recommend a heavy dose of crotch punching followed by a delicious taco lunch.
The MMA Lover
Identifying Quote: "That crap's all fake, man."
Method of Attack: Smile and nod.
Mixed martial arts and professional wrestling in America actually have quite of bit of shared heritage dating back to the start of the 20th century, and indeed, much of what has made Ultimate Fighting Championships the runaway juggernaut it is today is a focus on the promotion and presentation style that wrestling made famous. The two pursuits are tied together and, in a perfect world, we could view them as two sides of the same coin, each offering different entertainment options. Being a fan of both should be as natural as can be.
But this isn't a perfect world, and because of that, this guy exists.
You will know MMA guy by sight before you ever speak to him. He'll be wearing a loud t-shirt, walking like he's toting a grain silo in his pants and will smell like Axe Body Spray and anger. Most MMA fans wouldn't give this guy the time of day, but if somehow, the topic of professional wrestling comes up, he is going to think he has to be the spokesman for all of them, and the words "fake" and "gay" are going to be coming at your face faster than Anderson Silva.
This is a tough conversation to get out of, because there really is no possible way to bring this individual around to your way of thinking. Your only hope is to smile, nod and try to avoid a demonstration of what "a real submission is" being done to you before you can slip out of the room.
The Person Who Liked It When They Were a Kid
Identifying Quote: "Hey is *insert wrestler* still around?"
Method of Attack: Discuss wrestling, but don't overstay your welcome.
This is perhaps my favorite of all the people on this list. This individual used to watch wrestling during one of the boom eras when it was really cool. This is usually either the Hogan days or the Austin days, but I've heard older people remark fondly on the territory days as well. They stopped watching, either because they outgrew it or it just stopped being the cool thing to do, but they've always maintained a vague fondness from their childhood.
These people would love to hear about the crazy nonsense their favorites from back in the day are up to, and you can actually turn this into a fun conversation very easily.
But the important thing to remember here is that this person is not a wrestling fan or a potential convert (which comes later). They're just a person catching up on nostalgia, and like all nostalgia, the topic has an expiration date. So before you go charging in about your favorite Wahoo McDaniel matches, just remember to keep things light and only spend five to 10 minutes tops on the subject, and you'll be just fine.
The Person Who Liked It When They Were A Kid Until They Learned It Was Fake
Identifying Quote: "It's all lies anyway."
Method of Attack: Change the subject. Like seriously now. Right now.
On the surface, there may not appear to be that big of a difference between No. 3 and number 4. And right up until a traumatic event in their childhood, they're basically the same.
But for the nice, happy people that No. 3 represents, they have fond memories of wrestling as being a cool thing they liked as a kid. Whereas the poor wretches here at No. 4 have only the scarred over husk of life's first great betrayal where their heart should be.
See, while this may seem unthinkable now, there was a time not too long ago (think pre-Hulkamania) when wrestling was not only taken more seriously by people, but was genuinely believed to be real by just about everyone. Wrestlers and promoters took extravagant pains to make people believe that what they were watching really was a real fight, and fans ate it up in droves.
By around the late 70s/early 80s, the knowledge that wrestling was actually scripted and predetermined began to slowly come to light around the country. And while wrestling as a whole didn't suffer, it created a huge number of kids who felt severely, severely betrayed that they had been lied to all that time.
Much like with Santa Claus, these kids spend the rest of their lives trying to cope with a core belief that has been stripped away from them (usually by an older brother or kids at school). But unlike Santa, people seem to still be holding onto this resentment decades and decades later.
Should you find yourself in a wrestling conversation with one of these people, in a room with no windows to throw yourself out of, your only hope is to commiserate as best as you can and just let the person stew on their shattered childhood and fallen dreams.
Seriously, these people are huge bummers.
Identifying Quote: "Yeah I see WWE on sometimes. Who is this John Cena guy? The Rock is a wrestler, right? How do the matches work? Are they bleeding for real? What night is it on?"
Method of Attack: Reel them in.
Every once in a while, you'll come across someone for whom wrestling is a gigantic world of mystery and intrigue. They don't seem to know anything about it, but everything you tell them seems to make them more and more interested. Now, these are rare people and are almost never seen in the wild during eras when wrestling isn't a big fad. But if you come across one of them, you have the great and mighty responsibility of spoon feeding the entirety of wrestling to them in ways they can understand it.
Don't jump right into the psychology of King's Road, and definitely do not bring up anything related to Chris Benoit, IWA:MS or any of the less savory aspects of wrestling. You're basically selling a show where guys in their underwear play out soap operas the way you would a used car, so the less they know about the faulty engine and the worn brake lines, the better.
The Closet Fan
Identifying Quote: "Oh yeah, wrestling is OK. I used to watch it when it was cool during the Monday Night Wars, and now I see it on sometimes. That CM Punk guy is cool."
Method of Attack: Make sure this is not one of the other types, then engage.
The interesting thing about the closet fan is that, on the surface, they might appear to be any of these other people on this list. They may act grumpy about wrestling or they might act superficially interested, but foreign to the actual details.
If you've been a wrestling fan for any length of time, you've probably been this person at some point in your life, simply because there's a staggering social stigma against admitting that you're a professional wrestling fan.
I would guess that more than half of the people you run into talking about wrestling on the Internet fall into this category. They don't want to deal with the hassle of being judged for liking something that has a really weird place in our society somewhere between NASCAR and opera, so they'll be carefully noncommittal unless they're absolutely certain that you share the same interest that they do.
So how do you spot one of these mysterious chameleons? Look for anyone who seems a little too interested in a wrestling conversation going on around them, or who gives examples that are overly specific when pressed for details. If they can name a wrestler from the past 10 years not named John Cena, they are almost certainly in this category. So be nice to them. and they'll open up eventually. You might be surprised how deep that fandom goes once you've jumped into the well.
Identifying Quote: "I saw on the news that..."
Method of Attack: LARIAT.
Of all of the people you could possibly run across that has an opinion about wrestling, this is the worst-case scenario. This is a person who has absolutely no love for wrestling in any way at all and has instead gotten caught up in one of the industry's famous issues. It may be a parent who refuses to let their kid watch wrestling because of something they saw on the news once or a judgmental know-it-all who can apparently spot a steroid user based on pictures alone, but whatever the details of their particular crusade, the gist is that wrestling is awful and evil and you should feel bad for liking it.
Now, you could try to handle the situation with a logical, well-thought out series of statements that debunk some commonly-held myths about wrestling while acknowledging some troubling trends in the industry, and then you will no doubt notice that they didn't hear a word of it over their own smugness. There's really no reasoning with the kind of person who would viciously attack something another person loves based only on a half-remembered news piece and a collection of urban legends, and trying will only make you sad.
Handle the situation in a way that would make Stan Hansen proud.
The Crazy Fan
Identifying Quote: "CM Punk needs to lose to Jack Swagger and then become the world's first wrestling panda. It's an untapped market."
Method of Attack: Prayer.
Their opinions are bizarre, their arguments are haphazard and they smell oddly like cheese. You are guaranteed to be seated next to this individual at every wrestling event you attend. Forever.
Well, that'll do it for us this time. We hope we helped at least one of you get through an awkward family occasion or first date with this helpful advice. It's entirely possible that there are enough of these to support a whole 'nother list, but for now, just study up and be careful out there.
And remember, if the person you're talking to can correctly identify Kenta Kobashi by his picture, you are legally obligated to sleep with them under what is know as "Smark's Law".
Until next time, boys and girls, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.
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