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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Are Internet Fans Killing the WWE?
July 24, 2007 by Tom Eghtesad


Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!


Internet wrestling fans have been complaining for years about WWE's decisions. But has it ever occurred to them that they may have killed the WWE themselves? About 20 years ago, when wrestling sites didn't crowd the internet, not many people complained about the WWE. They were still pushing untalented big men like King Kong Bundy, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, etc. when they had talented wrestlers like Ricky Steamboat, the British Bulldog, Dynamite Kid, Owen and Bret Hart on their roster. But that didn't change the fact that Saturday Night's Main Event still got 10.0 ratings every time it aired.

Wrestling was always entertaining, even when there were terrible wrestlers and even more terrible storylines. The fans had an alternative with all the indy organizations and the NWA, but they still were many to be WWE fans. What was great about that time was that even though you knew that Hulk Hogan was going to win pretty much all of his matches, you still had that tiny doubt in your mind. Remember Wrestlemania III when he slammed Andre and won the match, what a surprise! Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior becoming WWF Champions were also big surprises at the time. The outcome of all the other matches was usually hard to guess believe it or not. And it wasn't only naive children that watched wrestling in awe, it was also adults of all ages. In the NWA you had the Four Horsemen and Ric Flair, and you were just waiting to see who would be the next to step up to the man. Greatness didn't have to exist for fans to love certain superstars, but when it was there, you were damn sure to see cheers for the baddest of them, just look at the Horsemen.

But now let's fast forward ten more years to the Attitude Era. Entertainment had now grown, and good wrestling was pretty much buried, even though it was existent. You had the Hart Foundation doing mid-card, even Bret when he moved to WCW. The only ones that were extremely talented as wrestlers, but still at the top of the mountain in WWE were Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. In WCW you had guys like Hogan and Goldberg at the top, even though they had no talent at all in the ring, but they would still put on a hell of a show, because fans loved to see them entertain us. It was so unexpected when Goldberg won the title off of Hogan on Nitro, it was unreal! WCW also had its fair share of good wrestlers, but they were all stuck in mid-card too. Just think of Hall, Hennig, Booker, and obviously the cruiserweights... But not many people complained at the time because they weren't getting a good enough push.

Storylines were always so well prepared in advance, like the surprising creation of the NWO, DX's hilarious skits, etc. When there was the whole "Who ran over Austin?" storyline, everyone was wondering who it could be. Who would have thought Rikishi would be behind it, and then that we would see Triple H as his accomplice? We were always sure to witness the best of entertainment, because it was unexpected, funny and overdone. That's what we all loved about it. We had huge faces in the Rock and Austin, and huge heels in HBK, Triple H, and then Kurt Angle. Everybody came to witness their favorite wrestler.

Today we have John Cena as the top face in the WWE. The guy who is supposed to carry the company. Everybody cheered for Cena, and he was way over as a face. He became champion and we were about to witness a new era in the WWE. But then the internet wrestling fans turned on him. The guy who was supposed to be the biggest face squared off against one of the biggest heels in WWE history in Triple H, and the crowd still managed to go about 50/50. The way the WWE wanted things to go for the next few months was almost destroyed because Cena was getting booed. But they managed to overcome it and changed how things would go down from then on. Surely, we are not getting as good entertainment, and more and more people started to dislike John Cena, because believe it or not, people are like sheep, and they follow what others do.

This is obviously not entirely the fault of internet wrestling fans, that would be cruel to say. But they do have a big part in this mess, as do a lot of young male fans. But this isn't the main issue I wished to address. What kills me is that 6 months before Wrestlemania, most people already know what the main event is going to be. Around October 2006, everybody knew the main event for Wrestlemania 23 would be Undertaker vs. Batista. Now this kills me because it destroys the surprise. This is just an example, but we usually know a lot about who is going to feud with whom, and who will win the match. Wrestling news sites tell us about it, and wrestling fans on the internet discuss it, thus giving as much information as possible about what could go down. I feel like wrestling is being robbed of its excitement.

We obviously don't have to read these sites and know about what's going to happen, but that's not the problem here. The WWE writers and Vince McMahon all read the Wrestling Observer, the PWinsider, and the major wrestling sites on the internet. They check out what has been leaked, and try to change their plans so that they can keep the unpredictability of their shows. If they have to plan everything at the last minute, they will obviously provide a less entertaining product. They try their best to make us know as least as possible, but that can't always be done. Hardcore wrestling fans such as myself always feel smarter than the WWE's writers. We do not know more about what is better for the wrestling business than they do. They are professionals, and they come up with good stuff sometimes, but having everything be so predictable makes it less entertaining for us fans.

That's why I think that in many ways, what we do here is killing our love of the wrestling business. If you just want to see pure wrestling, you should obviously tune in to Ring of Honor, but many people just like the idea of a mixture between wrestling and entertainment. In my opinion, the mix won't be possible for much longer as long as the writers have to put up with all of this. This is not an accusation, as I am a internet wrestling fan myself, but more of a question that I wish to get answered as well. I hope nobody feels offended by this whole thing, and that I am not wrong about some points. I feel that I may be a bit confused on some of my facts, but that is for you to say. Until then, I hoped you enjoyed my article, and I will make sure to give you more of them that look less critical in the near future.

by Tom Eghtesad (View/Submit your feedback here)..




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