In choosing this as my first B/R article, I realize that I am opening myself up to being labeled as a WWE mark and possibly a barrage of insults from the readers. I will simply write and remind you that all feedback is appreciated.
In the entertainment industry, it is often said that is easier to teach an actor to fight than to teach a fighter to act. Case in point: the Karate Kid franchise created four movies before a kung-fu remake was made many years later.
For four movies we watched Mr. Miyagi teach Daniel-san and Julie-san how to overcome their adversaries and personal demons through the use of karate (both in actions and mind-set). Now here’s the twist, Pat Morita, the actor who played Mr. Miyagi, never knew karate. Regardless, we were entertained.
As fans of professional wrestling, we have endured some of the most pointless debates simply because we enjoy a certain form of entertainment. We have had so many people attempt to inform us on how wrestling isn’t real, as if it was some big secret that only the fans of professional wrestling were left in the dark about. Or perhaps that the revelation would be as shocking as finding out there was no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy (insert remarks about the Rock), and in our immediate despair we would swear off our pastime for good.
They didn’t understand why we would enjoy professional wrestling. But that was fine because those people didn’t cross our boundaries. That was then, this is now. Now we have a sub-section of fans who would call themselves purists, the IWC, the Internet Wrestling Community. They sit among us at wrestling events, Pay Per Views, and are counted with us in the Nielsen Ratings. They are part of us.
But seemingly they exist only to put other fans down, simply because they may not know who Christian York is, or because they like Cena or Miz, or because some people aren’t outraged at CM Punk’s abysmal PPV record.
The IWC has, in effect, become like those who were ignorant of professional wrestling; with the major difference being they simply claim to know more than us. Instead of being ignorant of professional wrestling, the IWC feels ignored.
In being ignored, many now stream PPVs, refuse to buy merchandise, or boycott the product altogether. The IWC has to understand this does not help their case. The WWE and TNA won’t get better for the sake of someone who does not have a vested interest in the product offered.
By streaming PPVs for free, they are actually stealing, and for the record I have never seen Wal-Mart cater to shoplifters. If you choose to stream a PPV why would you then pay sometime later if the opportunity to stream still exists?
If you choose not to buy merchandise or you boycott the product then you have simply given up your vote. You didn’t get ignored; you just took your ball and went home.
The WWE, and to a lesser degree TNA, have taken steps to distance themselves from the word 'wrestling,' as they claim to provide athletic entertainment. This is should not come a surprise to any fan who has watched the WWE distance themselves from the WWF name, hardcore matches, and Chris Benoit. Wrestling is a dirty word in entertainment; it brings to mind self-mutilation (blading), poor taste storylines (Katie Vick) and worst of all, the total amount of damage done to the word by kayfabe.
There is clearly a divide between the IWC and newly created ISEC, the Internet Sports Entertainment Community. There will be insults hurled between each side, and the pointless debates will follow. The major companies will continue to be supported by the ISEC, and they will cater to those fans. The IWC will always have the independents.
The IWC will always call for the pushes of Daniel Bryan and Tyler Black, because they are pure wrestlers. But in the big leagues, you have to win over the ISEC because the ISEC spends money. The ISEC buys the Miz and Cena shirts, they pay for PPVs and they watch the product to see what happens next. The ISEC wants to be entertained.
Simply put, the WWE understands that it is easier to teach an entertainer to wrestle than to teach a wrestler to entertain.
Trey J. Styles