For as long as I can remember, wrestling fans (especially in WWE) have had a love affair with making signs to hold up at the live events they attend.
For most, I would assume they make the signs with the intent to hopefully get their three seconds of fame when the camera focuses on their sign saying something quirky or possibly offensive.
Personally, I've never made a sign to bring to a wrestling event, although I can't say the thought didn't come to mind when attending my first WWE event (Smackdown in '99).
But fans will now have to think twice about what they are going to write on their signs. According to various reports in the past few weeks, the company, as well as building security, are now confiscating signs they deem inappropriate, offensive, or anything they downright don't want to be seen on their shows.
I'm sure this isn't something totally new and has happened many times throughout the years of the popular crowd signs at wrestling shows, as they would not let someone hold up a sign saying "F*** (insert name)" or such profane things to that degree.
However after a report of a WWE official confiscating a fans sign directed towards HBK saying "Has Been Kid" at last night's No Mercy PPV I think they are taking this a little too far.
I understand that WWE is trying to promote a less vulgar, more family-oriented product, and that may be why they are confiscating signs saying things that may not be suitable for their program.
But something as simple as "Has Been Kid" just doesn't seem like it is grounds to be confiscated. And besides, it's not like the cameras HAVE to focus in on these signs, they could pick out a handful they deem "OK" to show and focus on those, right?
Other reasons I think that they are confiscating the signs for is for storyline purposes. This may not make much sense, but I seriously think it may factor into why they confiscate certain signs like the "Has Been Kid" sign which isn't offensive at all.
They want HBK to have a strong face character in his storyline with Jericho, and when the younger audience sees someone holding up a sign saying something like that it gives the impression that maybe HBK isn't the great wrestler they believe him to be.
I know it sounds ridiculous, and most people wouldn't even pay attention to these signs other than for comedic factor, but you can't put anything past WWE.
Overall the main problem I have with the situation is the fact that they are confiscating signs that have harmless sayings on them.
After all, we do have the First Amendment to the constitution which is allowing me to write this article right now and should allow these fans to hold up signs saying or showing what they think they are conveying to the rest of the wrestling world, at least to some degree.
Yes, the right to free speech is never absolute, and I agree that fans should not be allowed to hold up offensive signs or signs that may cause problems for the show.
But confiscating inoffensive signs simply because the company does not want them to be seen for whatever reasons is where it starts to bother me.