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WRESTLING COLUMNS

WE'RE ALL MARKS
Accept it, Admit it, Turn on the TV, and Enjoy the Show
July 14, 2005 by Dave Hanson


There seems to be a certain tendency among a lot of writers on this site, and on wrestling websites in general, to separate oneself from the pack in terms of wrestling fandom. The way this is done, is by the use-and subsequent overuse-of a certain word. That word is mark, a term originating from the world of con-men, where the "mark" was the target, the person to be conned. Originally the word seemed to only be used to describe people who believed that pro wrestling was a legitimate sport. However, the word seems to have changed its meaning over the years, since the birth of the so-called IWC: Internet Wrestling Community.

To paraphrase, the thought process goes something like this: "I'm not like all those other wrestling fans. They're marks. But I know what I'm talking about, I know how the wrestling business really works." I have a message for all those people: no you don't. Unless you're a wrestler or a wrestling promoter, you are a mark. You can read the Daily Variety all you want, and show up to take pictures of people on the red carpet, but it doesn't make you any closer to being a "Hollywood Insider." If your involvement in the wrestling business doesn't go any farther than being a fan who posts his own opinions all over the net, perhaps fancying yourself the Harry Knowles of wrestling, you are still a mark. You are a mark, and I am a mark. The people who think Hulk Hogan actually becomes impervious to pain when he "Hulks Up" near the end of a match are marks, and the people who say they know someone whose brother's local butcher's nephew's landlord was backstage at a house show and saw Rob Van Dam hit Carlito in the face with a pie backstage, thus proving that he will never be given the World Title, are also marks. So I say it's time to let the phrase go, and just enjoy ourselves.

At some point in history, calling someone a mark during a wrestling argument became the quick and easy way of undermining that person's opinion. "Well, so-and-so is just a mark, they don't know what's really happening." Or, "the marks all think this, but really I know it's that." It's used to substantiate your own opinion as the "real" or "correct" opinion; many times to show that someone's favorite wrestler is a poor choice. "All those marks love Hulk Hogan and John Cena, but I'm a real fan because I know that Psicosis and Paul London are the best ever." The funny thing is, there's no difference in what any of us are doing--we're all just paying our hard-earned money to see our favorite wrestlers, whoever they may be.

At some other point in the history of wrestling fandom, "getting excited about a match" was replaced by "marking out." It's as if the people who use the phrase "marking out" want to make sure everybody knows that they don't think everything they see is real, so they pull out an expression like that so as not to reveal the excited kid in them that's loving every second of the action that pro wrestling brings us. It's like they're trying to downplay their own excitement in an attempt to sound like a mature, knowledgeable adult--a "smark," or "smart mark," if you will. It's like when adults go see a movie like Star Wars or Indiana Jones and love it as much as any kid loves it, but have to preface their opinion by calling the film "escapist," just so you know that they're a "serious film viewer" who appreciates "serious, real films." I say nuts to that. All movies are escapist when you really think about it, and all wrestling fans are marks when you really think about it.

Of course, I'm not insinuating that we all go back to believing that pro wrestling isn't staged. And I'm not suggesting that your opinions of various wrestlers and wrestling matches shouldn't change or evolve as you grow older and/or learn more about pro wrestling in general. It's just that if Ric Flair can come out on RAW and say that he's a mark for Kurt Angle, or speak at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony and say that he's a mark for "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, then who the hell are any of us to claim that we're not marks" So what I am saying is that perhaps it's time we really examine and perhaps re-define what we mean by the word mark, or even-gasp-admit that we are all marks and abandon it forever as a superfluous word, synonymous with "wrestling fan." The audience for pro wrestling is just like the audience for any sport, or entertainment medium-there are those who know more about it than others, but in the end, we all sit together on equal ground, in the same category: we are fans.

This article was written with Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior from Wrestlemania VII playing in the background. That match sure makes me mark out.

by Dave Hanson ..


George Pickering wrote:
Woooooooooooo! You said that loud and clear! In my opinion marks ARE NOT marks, they are wrestling fans. A lot of people over the internet community like to say stuff like "On Smackdown last night Batista went fishing with JBL and Bret Hart showed up to do the Heidenwalk....but we all know that the fish JBL and Batista caught was actually a guy in a costume and the Bret Hart we saw was just some old guy with a wig on!" Do any of these people realise that they're ruining the fun out of watching wrestling" Just sit back and watch the entertainment, dammit!
Jerry Bullard wrote:
Two simple words.... amen brother
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
Bravo Dave! Great column and i totally see where you are coming from. I dont wanna point fingers but a "certain person" likes to insults HHH fans saying we dont know whats happening. I have heard all the bullshit but that doesnt change my mind about HHH being my FAVOURITE DAMN WRESTLER OF ALL TIME!
junior lizard king wrote:
I Dont agree with you at all. I dont watch wrestling for the sport. I watch it for great entertainment. I could care less if Benoit is a great wrestler he sucks on a mic. Jericho on the other hand is great on the mic. How would I consider myself a "mark."
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
Dave, who would listen to a mark like you" Just kidding. :)

I actually think this was an issue that had to be addressed and I am glad you did. I think you hit the nail on the head several times. It seems that a lot of us use the term 'mark' to make it seem like we're smarter than other fans. Ironically, the only time I have used it has been on myself.

I kind of wish I could be a 'mark.' I was, once upon a time, trying really hard to be one. I tried to bury the knowledge in my head that wrestling was set up and just enjoy it. Though I really knew the truth, I just buried and didn't aknowledge it. And still, whenever the show comes on, I put aside everything else and just enjoy the show. More people should learn to do that.
milly48 wrote:
Brilliant column. I've always hated the term mark used by smarks/internet fans. Do us all a favour and send it to RD Reynolds, Dave Meltzer and most of the regular columnists on other wrestling sites because they need a healthy dose of the reality I got from reading your column.
Langdon Beck wrote:
You are so absolutely, totally right! Thank you for this column!
Joe L wrote:
This had to be one of the most logical and persuasive articles I had ever read. The smarks, despite their so-called wrestling acknowledge, are as every bit into wrestling as the so-called "marks" . When they deal with the negative aspects of wrestling, all they do is bitch but when that negative aspect turns into something good, they become a part of it.

Perfect example was when these Internet fans bitched over the possibility that HHH would win the World title at Vengeance 2005. When the match happened, instead of going to the kitchen to get something to eat, they were on the edge of the seat, praying that HHH wouldn't win. Of course, he didn't and now they're happy. Peh.

Another great example was the complete denouncing of JBL as World Champion. Last year at this time, fans angered that JBL was not World Championship material. By WrestleMania, the web serfers think he is entertaining and a decent brawler and...get this", a great former champion.

What does this mean" Besides being hypocrities, smarks all over AOL never give something a chance to shine and when it does, they worship it like it was a second coming. It also goes to show wrestling doesn't have to be a factor for great entertainment. I mean, seriously, for every Kane-Snitsky turdburger, there was a hilariously enjoyable angle to back it up (like the unlikely rise of Snitsky). Ditto Warrior-Savage from WM7 and of course, the nWo bouts in their early years.

Another flaw in the Internet community is that if they are considered smarks, then how does adoring a wrestler not make them a die-hard fan" Liking a wrestler is being a mark and wrestlers that are loved like Benoit, Jericho and Rock are backed up by a fanbase. Not a smarkbase, not an Internet Base, a fanbase.
the infamous DonPhilip straight outta Gerrrmany wrote:
nice article, and to start it off so that you can all clearly figure out my opinion at the very start of this, let me talk straight "YES, IT´S TRUE IT`S TRUE" :) Of course we are all marks, and what´s so difficult to admit it" Well, it is this simple, we´re all spending a lot of time about writing, reading or like me replying to articles concerning in the whole wrestling thing. Not to mention of all the money we spend on our beloved or hated child called "Sports Entertainment";) And why we´re doing all this instead of so many other things that we could do in our valuable time, if it´s all really such a waste of time!", I´ll tell ya, BECAUSE WE ALL DO LIKE IT!!! Yes you got me right, we´re interested in wrestling, of course each of more or less intensity, but in fact we are. If it was´nt so, then tell me why are you here, right now" ;) Ha I gotcha;) And thats what makes us marks, yes there are maybe some people who knew more about the whole thing, and the things going on when cameras are turned off, or about the things that are going on behind the scenes, but who or whatever it is, the fact of the matter is, that we all like to watch, analyse,argue,agree,cheer,boo...etc and what all else, to all these things which are given to us by this wonderful form of entertainment.

And at this point, none of you can´T prove me wrong, because as above mentioned, YOU ARE HERE FOR IT!!! Wrestling!!!

And whatever may come, no matter how excited or angry etc. you are about any possible issue that refers to wrestling in which circumstance ever, always keep in mind, that nobody ever forced you, to watch, read or to be part of wrestling in what way ever!!! Everytime you spend your time on it, whether you watch RAW,write articles/columns, read magazines,internet columns or order pey per view´s, it is always your very own decision! Only you decide!

Allright then Fellas, have a good time while "wasting or enjoying your time" on wrestling.
Roger Smithy wrote:
This site sure shows it= http://uk.geocities.com/internetfanboyssuck/
Andy Christopher wrote:
I have been following the internet literature only since recently, and I myself have only been watching pro-wrestling since late 2003. As such, I am only sketchily familiar with the time of the Attitude Era, WCW, the Invasion, the Montreal Screwjob, and other such items of history, to say nothing of the old school. Ever since I discovered wrestling and began to develop admiration for certain wrestlers, (in my case, Chris Benoit and the Undertaker being the most prominent), I get the impression that most smarks consider my opinions ignorant. Why, I like John Cena, which clearly marks me as a fool who doesn't understand that Cena can't wrestle and his gimmick is too obnoxious!

Sarcasm aside, there's a kind of intellectual elitism at work here. I noticed this when I joined up with a community of online wrestling fans called an "e-fed". I'm sure most of you know what it is, but for the benefit of people just coming into wrestling, it's basically an online rpg where we create our own wrestlers and wrestling shows, and the like.

What I discovered was in retrospect predictable. All the e-fed members fashionably bash WWE, and in particular Vince McMahon (admittedly understandible), and detest people like John Cena because they "can't wrestle, can't promo, totally useless." Yet I could tell just talking to them that they never miss and episode of Smackdown and Raw. That spoke of a huge hypocracy that to this day I roll my eyes when people whine and complain about this or that storyline or wrestler, yet every week, their they are in front of the couch, glued to the tube.

I'll admit that the handling of the Edge-Snitsky-Kane storyline is abominable, and I'll be the last person to deny Vince McMahon is a scoundral, but all the same, I frankly would never have gotten into wrestling in the first place if it weren't for the talent they have now: One thing about watching wrestling is that it's more interesting to someone who's familiar with the characters then it is for someone who has no sense of history. Which is why I appreciated this article when I read it about ten minutes ago: smarks need to get off the high horse and just watch what we all came here to watch.
Jon F wrote:
This article makes the most sense of any article I've read, nice job. It makes perfect sense if you think about it(and I'm a smark!). Who are we to make fun of people that actually like to cheer and have fun with wrestling. What do smarks do" We criticize and complain mostly. I like to think of us as tight-ass movie critics and "marks" as people who just want to enjoy a movie w/o someone's bad review.
Michael Eisen wrote:
Great article keep on writing ones like this and you may be able to sway the opinions of wrestling fans.
wrote:

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