Analyzing How Fan Hijacking Has Become Part of WWE Culture

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Analyzing How Fan Hijacking Has Become Part of WWE Culture
Credit: WWE.com

Through every era, live audiences of pro wrestling have used multiple methods to show their ardent disapproval. The back end of the Austin era brought about the apathetic, yet energetic, "what" chant which is often used to curtail an unwanted promo.

The standard "boring" chant explains itself. Never one for subtleties, Memphis territories, aptly defined by the phrase "Memphis Heat," used the all-out riot more times than not.

This era of pro wrestling, a genre often accused of recycling content that spans generations, has introduced a whole new innovation in disapproval.

It's the Randy Savage chant. The JBL chant. The this-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-match-but-we're-going-to-chant-it-anyway chant.

Modern-day wrestling of the 2010s will forever be responsible for the fan hijack.

The embryonic phases of this of off-script brand of fan participation (a term used loosely) came during the rise and subsequent fan fatigue for John Cena.

Jaded with what many saw as cookie-cutter heroics, every "let's go Cena" chant is invariably accompanied by "Cena sucks."

WWE has accepted a fanbase that has become more rabid with every new fan-empowering social-media tool. 

In fact, these aggressive audiences are the personification of Twitter outrage. It's the real-life version of a message board—once the only sanctuary for this breed of fan—gone awry.

This type of trolling doesn't require a keyboard.

If WWE's marketing of anti-Cena merchandise isn't an indication of the promotion coming to terms with fans who refuse to play along with the booking, the Slammy Award for Best Crowd was.

During the Slammy edition of Raw last year, WWE honored the Izod Center, which can safely be considered the venue where hijacking was perfected as a spectacle.

While the Izod Center's unanimous Fandangoing was Vince McMahon's dream come true, per PWInsider (via WrestlingInc.com) their match-long evisceration of Randy Orton and Sheamus was the last thing WWE could have hoped for. Chants ranging from "RVD" to "cotton candy" took center stage as fans became interested in everything except the core product.

The only thing more surprising than WWE rewarding this behavior was doing so in hindsight.

WWE's failure to reward Daniel Bryan in his quest to become WWE champion has given fans yet another source of rage.

A Big Show-Orton main event at Survivor Series (via PWTorch.com), a championship ascension ceremony featuring a gathering of icons and a Royal Rumble gone rogue have all been victimized by restless fanatics armed with their most powerful tool yet.

The weaponless hijacking during an Elimination Chamber match between Batista and Alberto Del Rio was not only acknowledged on air, it led to a subsequent Batista heel turn on SmackDown, not to mention big Dave's new unflattering nickname: "Bootista."

CM Punk's departure (via TMZ), which has been unacknowledged on air, has given way to the next batch of calculated barbarianism with Raw in his hometown of Chicago on Monday.

The noteworthy date of March 3 is looming in ways that WWE officials will liken to judgment day or Armageddon—not the WWE pay-per-views but literally judgment day or Armageddon.

All will culminate at WrestleMania XXX in an on-paper main event that could play host to the mother of all hijackings. With unpopular choices Batista and Orton scheduled to face off for the WWE title, and underdog antihero Daniel Bryan on the outside looking in, WWE should already be polishing a Slammy Award.

 

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