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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Internet vs. Pro-Wrestling
January 8, 2006 by Keelan Balderson


Hey everyone, I had planned on doing a Christmas related column today but due to the lack of festiveness in my family I couldn't get the creative juices going. Instead I'm switching to the age old debate. Has the Internet ruined Pro Wrestling" Since everyone reading this must be a net fan I think it's an interesting topic to write about. One thing's for sure, I wouldn't be writing this if there was no internet.

One common mistake that often causes huge problems within wrestling is taking the Internet fans and tarring them as every fan. Although there has been a huge rise in net fans since 2000, it really is only about 20 percent of all fans that actively take part in online shenanigans. People seem to forget, although this may be a stereotypical view but none the less, people seem to forget about the small town family or single older aged man that just go to watch wrestling when it's visiting their local town. Sometimes promoters start booking for the Internet fans when they really should be taking note of the towns they're running in. You wouldn't believe how many promoters have gone out of business because they forget good ol wrasslin and start signing talent praised on the internet, or adopt methods of putting over they're shows because it impresses the internet fans not the local yokels.

Something I'd like to point out is a good portion of the internet wrestling fans are the fans that watch the shows illegally, downloading off websites, paying a small fee to watch live ppv's on underground streaming websites or using p2p clients like bittorrent to get events hours after they air.

Someone could have the latest WWE PPV the next morning absolutely free contributing nothing to the sport whatsoever then they go post how crap it was, infecting everyone else. To put it bluntly if a promotion listened to the Internet, which they often are these days, they would be giving them exactly what they want and they wouldn't be paying for it.

It's not just promoters that are plagued with this illness. A larger number of the wrestlers themselves take the internet far too seriously and listen to anything people are saying, whether that be how crap they are, (so they push themselves too far), or they are witness to their personal life being discussed like wildfire on message boards and such. Sometimes it's their own official site that causes the problems, look at Sean "X-Pac" Waltman's website.

That's caused its fair share of problems over the years as news hungry fans often read the latest goings on in his life. Chyna used to wake up every day to some new filth posted about her and her ex's problems and they often argued over the internet. Use the phone damn it. Don't make the net more, sleazy than it already is. This kind of thing can take over someone's life.

Look at The Honky Tonk Man, he used to spend the whole day on the internet reporting insider dirt.

Occasionally you'll hear about a wrestler who responded to comments made about them on the Internet when they really should be focused on their job. Reporters not message board noobs but reporters often cut down certain wrestlers just to get their two minutes of fame from coach on byte this. What some reporters don't realize is that when they post a negative story that may have some truth to it, readers just get the basis of it, aka "Lita is a slut." Or "Goldberg injures wrestlers," then for years to come people's opinions will be tarnished. "Hey TNA may sign Goldberg." Someone may reply, "Ohh no Goldberg just injures people." This may be a little funny to some of you but I'm just trying to break down how dirt spreads like wildfire and ruins fans opinions.

All the time dirt sheet writers post useless news that just buries the business and the stars that work in it. I won't lie; I do the same nearly every day. Some websites exaggerate the stupidest stories just to get some extra visitors so their little virus pop-up's get them a little extra cash. Wouldn't it make more sense to exaggerate the good things and hide the pointless and bad things" Wouldn't more people watch a sport that was spoken highly of" In turn wouldn't that get more hits because it's more popular" Am I using too many rhetorical questions"

Far too often wrestlers who are bashed on the Internet take it to heart. They see all these other so called amazing wrestlers getting praised while they "are just another big guy," or are "Three move wrestlers," Or just "crappy hardcore wrestlers with no in ring talent." I'm sure you wouldn't want to be dissed on the Internet because people think you can't do your job. In turn this may cause wrestlers to push their limits, change their style or just get plane depressed when really they are selling seats fine and are probably bigger than any of the Internet praised grapplers. An example of that would be Goldberg or Triple H.

A lot of the new wrestlers trying to break in to the business are from the "net fan," generation and this causes far too many problems. Since the Internet seems to put over high spots, athletic wrestling and other styles far off the old school basics, these young students jump in at the deep end often thinking they know it all. They think they know what wrestling is all about and how everything backstage and in the ring works. Boy do they get a shock! You hear about jobbers going up to their established opponents explaining what they are going to do in the match and what would work or even what crazy spot they want to get it. That is not how it works! You lean the basics and listen to what your opponent wants to do. From Jerry Lynn, "This kid came up to me saying he wanted to get all this shit in and that, before I pinned him he wanted to do a triple back super leg lariat bomb with a three mile rotation. I kindly smiled and said the running powerbomb is fine." This isn't directly associated with the internet but the mind frame people get in to after spending a year on the internet is quite amusing.

This is the paragraph where I say ok it's not all bad. And it's not. It educates people on the history of wrestling and breaks down important industry changing events. It helps federations promote and get over their product. A lot of the time it widens fans eyes to other styles of wrestling that they never knew about but its not far after this that the problems begin. Some people feel they have been educated too much, me for one. I sit their watching raw and fall in to the over analyzing trap. I can no longer enjoy it because my mind is being subconsciously critical of the match. I may have read the spoilers beforehand so I know what's going to happen. The list goes on. I'm no longer a full on fan, it's my duty to watch it. If any of you are in this situation I advice you not to watch any wrestling for a month, then watch it again for a month with no Internet interaction.

Hmm this didn't quite turn in to the column I wanted it to but I'll end with the following. Most of us would fail as a writer, promoter or wrestler. There's what is known as the wrestling bubble that you have to fit in to. When you sit there criticizing a certain thing, remember you don't know the situation or talent involved. Just enjoy wrestling, don't spend too long discussing on the Internet, don't take reports all that seriously and buy events and DVD's when you can. As for, is the Internet ruining pro wrestling" I'd say no, the fans are using it to ruin it for themselves and everyone else and the promoters, stars and alumni are using the Internet to make it even worse.

by Keelan Balderson ..


PolyphonicAllan wrote:
I've a feeling your sanity may be open to question after this column. I don't remember reading a more hypocritical and self-contradicting pile of nonsense in my 5 years of Internet access - or as you suggest "Destroying Wrestling!!!". First of all your claim that a "good portion" of wrestling fans are using the Internet to illegally download shows:I assume you have not researched the actual figures for this and therefore this is a comment you have plucked from the top of your head. However are you saying that people (whether they purchased the PPV appropriately or not) are not entitled their opinion on something they have witnessed" Also you state that promotions are "often" listening to Internet fans - how often" and which promotions" because I don't want to watch a promotion with writers that can't think for themselves. I assume your not talking about the WWE because the last I heard, Vince was succesful and quite wealthy! Wrestling is not the only sport or industry that has fans with Internet access you know. How come baseball, football, basketball and boxing can all function like they used to in the wake of Internet critics" Or for that matter soap operas, movies and theatre. Especially with the spoilers available for the latter examples" It sounds to me like the only person spoiling wrestling for you is YOU!! You don't have to read wrestling websites before you've been able to see the show. By the way - the Honky Tonk Man does not, and never has, spent all day on the Internet reporting "dirt". He runs a website based on news and opinion, much like any wrestling website, but pretty much spends his days headlining one wrestling event or another on the indy scene as far afield as Europe and Australia. A lot of new wrestlers may be from the Internet generation as you call it, but thats not what makes them bad wrestlers. Its purely because they ARE bad wrestlers. What is your problem with yourself for being critical of a match which may not be up to much. You don't have to like everything put in front of you. You didn't like the Gobbledy-Gooker did you" (or maybe you marked out!!!...) But I've got to end on my favourite part of the piece - "Just enjoy wrestling, don't spend too long discussing it on the internet, don't take reports seriously and buy events and DVD's when you can." Are you on the payroll" Are you Vince McMahon"
Serafin Santiago Jr. wrote:
OK, now just because I stopped writing for OWW doesn't mean that I neglect the site that gave me a shot to put my work online for all to see. So here I am waltzing around the net and I come across OWW and look at what has been posted. I start to read this very article when....lo and behold I notice that the majority of the views that Mr. Balderson is expressing, kinda mimics the one i had in a prior column called "The Information Superhighway Has Potholes"! Even to the point where he says that people should take a month off from reading net spoilers yet watch wrestling in that time frame. Interesting, I said damn near the same thing!!!!

I'm not saying that there is plagiarism involved here. Yet I'm pointing out that the same views I gave and others have given on this topic are constantly being rehashed. We all get the idea. Whats funny to me is that this medium that we all blast for being the problem to our wrestling woes, is the same being used to explain our hate for the very medium we post on. I understand the need for expression, and I am a staunch supporter of freedom of speech, but I think this is just another example of a dead horse being beaten. The point has been made time and time again yet nothing can and will be done. Why" Who knows why. To point out in many cases, the question should be, who cares why.

When this site opened its doors to us fans/writers, I'm sure it was with the intent to make everyone feel that their own voice was being heard. As well as to make us feel that we were/are participating in our beloved sport. Yet for the life of me I cant fathom as to why so many individuals feel the need to try and change the wrestling world with a keystroke. We should all realize that it is a futile effort to sway the minds of the head cheeses of the wrestling world. Yet it is even harder to change someones mind about what they believe in. Just look at the plentiful marks that fill the seats in arenas and gymnasiums around the world. Try and tell them that the Internet is dragging our favorite past time down the drain. You know what they'll say" "If it wasn't for the net...I wouldn't have been able to get the directions on how to get here, get the tickets and find out who was wrestling!!!" Leave it be guys and dolls. As time goes by we all realize one thing to be constant and true....nothing lasts forever.
Timothy P. wrote:
The Internet has a great advantage in giving wrestling fans an abundance of information and wrestling news from around the world, but for many patrons, it seems to ruin and bore them from the sport. It is sports entertainment after all, and in any form of entertainment, the stories and drama can run old if they are told over and over again, especially if the wrestling events are told before they happen, "spoiling" the surprises. The "spoiler" websites across the internet do demonstrate a tendency to reveal events in a bemused fashion that is very boring and heavily critical of wrestlers in ways that brings down the sport. On the whole, many fans might agree with you that the internet has ruined their enjoyment of the sport and is detracting profits from the industry (with websites like bitTorrent and online media files), but I have to disagree. With the internet, many fans can share their passion for wrestling, telling about their new interest in storylines and wrestlers as events unfold. Fans can watch and look into a great variety of wrestling brands and styles that they do not find easily on television. They learn more about the industry, wrestler profiles, and wrestling histories through the quick-paced websites online. Downloads and websites can provide fans with enormous amounts of online media on just about any type of wrestling or wrestlers that they enjoy. With the dawn of a new wired generation of wrestling fans, we see the industry is gaining more fan clubs, media attention, and web-specific information/controversies to catch the fans' interest. I suspect much of your boredom has come from knowing details about the sport that has ruined the surprise and fun of seeing the events happen live, but the new knowledge and depth of understanding of the sport also gives you more consideration and an added perspective when watching.
Johnny LaRue wrote:
I agree with former OWW columnist Serafin Santiago Jr. I also wrote a similar column as well and said "My challenge to you is to go two weeks without getting a single spoiler or rumor on what might happen."

I guess Mr. Balderson shares the same views since he says "If any of you are in this situation I advice you not to watch any wrestling for a month, then watch it again for a month with no Internet interaction."

I am not saying Mr. Balderson can not share the same views nor am I accusing him of being unoriginal but his column is eerily similar to both of ours....
Keelan Balderson wrote:
"Hey guys, I guess it's just a common topic, I mean I bet 60% of people share out views, hence the age old debate phrase I used. I'm sure if you check me out some more you'll know I'm no plagiarist."
Rob Scribner wrote:
A) I agree with the column. I find myself being critical more of things because of what I read from the internet critics. The thing I had to tell myself, was that WWE doesn't have all great wrestlers for a reason...they put on a show that is on TV and not everyone who watches on TV is a die-hard wrestling fan who picks apart and critiques every move. Some performers are great wrestlers, but have no acting or promo ability and so they only attract the die hard wrestling fan. For the wide audience, different things entertain. Some people like the soap-opera like storylines while others like the intricacies of the match. Putting too much emphasis on either is going to lose fans. TNA is a great alternative for the die-hard wrestling fans, but if you are looking for plots, well, not many wrestlers there have a personality (Christian Cage aside) so the casual wrestling fan may not be interested in this. I like both for different reasons, but will say that if you look too deeply into each match, you will not enjoy it as much. I don't blame the internet, though. It would be insulting to myself if I let the critics destroy my experience.

B) I could care less if it was plagiarized so please do not reply stating this. If you think it is, contact the person who wrote it, don't force us who view it to be in the middle of your quarrel.
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