Reality Check
July 11, 2006 by Trae Iafeta

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"...ROH is only the smarks choice because out of the big 3 it is the least promoted and publicised. It makes them feel like they are in the know which is very important to a smark."

-Stephen Mitchell in response to "The Truth about Ring of Honor" by FJ Parlan

This brief sentence pretty much laid out everything I feel about most of the IWC. I realized that like most everything else, wrestling has become a battleground between fans, particularly those who are "mainstream"(WWE), "underground" (ROH), and in between those two (TNA). As a simple analogy for most people, I'll relate this to music: whenever you have something that suddenly dominates a certain genre or skyrockets in popularity, essentially becoming pop-culture or pop music, you suddenly have a violent backlash of people who, without any reason, feel that they are being forced fed imagery and sounds that they used to but no longer like, and now it can no longer be considered "of the people." But the fact of the matter is, when something does blow up like hair bands or crunk music or boy bands or disco or anything like that, it's because "of the people." The fact is, the WWE is and always has been "of and for the people" and if it wasn't, quite frankly it wouldn't be in business now would it" But back to the point at hand, those groups who suddenly rebel against pop-culture suddenly develop their own movement, a movement that is more "pure", more "simple", a movement that goes back to the so called "basics." I put everything in parentheses because to be honest the majority of these are simply novelty appeal, and sooner or later the novelty disappears and all you have left is a broken down bandwagon left in the dust of the next bandwagon that everyone jumps on.

That's what I feel when I hear people talk about ROH, that's what I feel whenever I hear about Dave Meltzer and WON, that's how I feel whenever I read these columns on OWW. Now I'm not going to split hairs here, but to be quite honest with you, the primary reason I use this website is for the wrestling profiles. Sure, I'll read an article from time to time and hell, I'll even respond to a few, but it ALWAYS surprises me how these people this know-it-all attitude like they're suddenly the premiere source of wrestling information. Sure, I'll admit that WWE has been sucking for the past few years, but suddenly jump on its back like it's a dying horse and try to flog it to death is not going to get anyone anywhere. I understand that majority of people are burnt out on the product, but it's not like it's not trying to change. I'm not a WWE mark, but I am a wrestling fan. I'd rather enjoy watching a match on TV than concern myself with backstage politics that I really have nothing to do with or directly affect me. Oh, and I guaran-damn-tee the majority of you smarks who claim to hate sports entertainment were probably some of the biggest marks of the WWE when it was the underdog and during its Attitude Era.

The fact of the matter is, I guarantee that once ROH or TNA starts to blow up as well and becomes the next ECW and WCW respectively, I have a feeling we all know what's going to happen. So stop all the hypocrisy and quit jumping on bandwagons, because inevitably you're going to end up forsaking them when things look rough and start they start to crash and burn. Now I know I'm probably writing this to an audience that refuses to hear what I have to say, but let's be real about this: TNA is not going to succeed very much in front of a national audience unless they A)start touring A LOT more with house shows, B)start doing tapings at venues besides Universal Studios, and C)get the money to do all of this by the end of 2006 to the middle of 2007. I say they need to do this soon because WWECW, which is trying to edge out TNA, is already on the road. Now whether or not ECW even succeeds is a whole other question for a whole other time. If TNA really wants to become a contender for the WWE, they're going to have to be able to compete with the WWE on a financial level. That's one of the things that made the Monday Night Wars so interesting, seeing which company could gather up enough money to top the other and to see who could lure away the top stars with biggest, most outrageous contracts. I don't know what ROH's plans are. If they're trying to go national and get a TV deal, fantastic, more power to them; but you have to consider once again the money issue. Like any other sport where you sign and use pro athletes, there's always going to be a salary cap, and just like any pro league there's going to be the minor league. That's more or less what ROH is: the minor league. Have you ever heard of a wrestler in the independents turning down the opportunity to make more money with the WWE" And if you say AJ Styles, you're wrong, sure he turned down the WWE, but that was because he wasn't going to make more money. The point is, the wrestling community -and not the INTERNET wrestling community- calls the WWE the big leagues for the reason.

In conclusion, smarks are simply those spoiled kids you met when you were little who were snobs to everyone else because they thought they knew everything and liked to correct people when even the tiniest mistakes were made. In reality, no one really like them because they really just made a fool of themselves by proclaiming to be an expert in something that was either not real or absolutely none of their business; thus, no one ever really took them seriously. So to those of you who do get upset by what I have to say, that's really too bad; I respect wrestling fans but I hate people who criticize guys for things like workrates and ring psychology when they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about and probably couldn't carry a match if their life depended on it. Why don't you stop telling wrestlers how to do their jobs; they are where they are (in the ring) and you are where you are (spending every waking moment in front of acomputer) for a reason.

by Trae Iafeta..

Jesse Lee wrote:
All I have to say is that I agree with some parts in here. There really are things that aren't our business (such as the relations between Hardy, Lita, and Edge.) If they so dearly want to get into such a mix up, then they can go to anyone in their neighborhood (or family or themselves) and ridicule them for cheating on someone.

Another thing is how much seem to "understand" about the business. If we truly "understand" the business then we would be the ones hired for the wrestling companies and they'd take their time researching on sites like these.

Of course, I'm guilty of everything a smark does too (except the personal lives thing and the looking for spoilers part.)
Andrew Riordan wrote:
Doesn't the mere fact that you wrote a column on OWW make you a wrestling smark" Doesn't the mere fact that you participate in these mark vs smark, WWE vs ROH, wars make you a smark" Doesn't the mere fact that you claim to know it all make you a smark"

Maybe I've got the wrong definition of a smark. I post on wrestling forums, I wear wrestling shirts, and I know my shi- poo about wrestling. I figure I'm a smark. However EVERYONE, like you Trae, and others on forums seem to hate smarks wich makes no sence. Where are these "arrogent smarks""

The fact that you seem to know what TNA should do to succeed shows that, by your definition, your a smark. So by the way I see it you're a hypocrite.

What do I watch" WWE, TNA or ROH" I only have access to WWE and I'm not really bothering with that. So out of the three... NONE! But just becuase some people prefer the actual wrestling in ROH doesn't make them a wrestling fan who holds himself higher then everyone.

You modern wrestling fans are actually sad. You actually fight over WWE and TNA, you actually insult eachother with 'mark' and 'smark'. And then EVERYONE, including you Trae and proberly me for making this reply, thinks they're above it all by making these sorts of comments.

Some fans know more then others, but who cares" It's a sport, it's TV, stop taking yourselves so seriously. If a few people on the internet bug you, then maybe you need a life. I post on wrestling forums every weeknight. I have my own wrestling forum, but do I care if some watch WWE and some watch TNA" No! The only thing that bugs me are hypocritical columns like this.
Kieran Rafferty wrote:
Right on Trae -- I enjoy reading the columns, both here and at the torch, but the reason I'm a wrestling fan is to watch the wrestling - not the pop shots of ROH, and occasionally on TNA. Even if the websites died, I'd still be tuning in - week in, week out
Trae Iafeta (Original Author) wrote:
Andrew Riordan: You really must not have read the article at all. I distinctly remember saying something along the lines I only checked the posts here on and off, not frequently, not regularly, on and off. Hell it's written in plain view! I must thank you, really, I have to, because you are a shining.. well not shining, I think that's giving you way too much credit, but you are the fitting example of what I am talking about. You never bother to listen to anyone else's opinion, no one seems to know more about wrestling than you as you implied when you wrote "I know my [shit] about wrestling", more or less stating that I had no idea what I was talking about. I have no problems with ROH. I apologize if it came off that way. I have a problem with ROH smarks, and well anyone like you. You obviously don't know the difference between a smark and a FAN. A smark is someone who prides themselves as knowing about the backstage aspects and truths of wrestling while still believing that what they see is real. A fan, well, to me a fan is someone who respects the performers and their trade, who criticizes but keeps it to himself, who is humbled by the knowledge the performers are where they are by hardwork and dedication. I could care less about your wrestling forum. In fact, how the hell are YOU going to tell ME to get a life when you probably spend the majority of your time behind your computer screen jerkin off and trying to find out the latest news on RVD and Sabu's drug bust"

So in conclusion, I'll answer your basic "questions" or basically anything you wrote with a question mark behind it, so pay attention: no, posting an article on here does not make me a smark considering the fact that my article had nothing to do with my thoughts on how wrestling should be, it deals with how some smarks cloud the IWC with their contradictions and ignorance; I am not participating in these WWE vs. ROH wars, in fact I could care less, I do not see ROH on my TV, therefore I cannot judge whether or not they are indeed better than WWE or not; I do not claim that I "know it all", if you are referencing the area where I am talking about TNA and ROH finances, that's just being a smart businessman, you can't expect to compete with a similar product in the same market if you can't afford to advertise it or fund it at similar levels; I am writing to an arrogant smark right now; I could give a shit for what you care about. So, let this be a lesson to you, I know there are seeming contradictions in my article, but none so blatant as those in your little rant. Finally, if you want to know what makes me "above it all" is that I am actually in the ring, training, learning the true side of the business. If you're going to criticize someone criticize your peers; and while you're not my peer, I criticize your stupidity and ignorance, which should be enough for anyone to correct.
Dartagan67 wrote:
1st off Jeff Jarrett & Shane Douglas said in recent interviews that "TNA isn't competing with WWE; but serve as an alternative." Where you get this notion that every promotion gotta be on WWE standands" You make seem like When thay first put TNA promotion together they said " Hey, guys! Let's give the WWE a run for their money!!" TNA is an alternative meaning that the product is MCMAHON-FREE you feel me" Might I remind you that TNA is an upstart promotion that's been around for 5 years & will continue to grow with time. It don't need to be over the top to succeed; cuz the fanbase will make it succeed 1st & foremost.

Secondly stop thinking every wrestler will go running to WWE as if that's the only place to go BIG TIME! I can assure u that majority of the roster are happy where they are (TNA). Don't take my word for it; listen to Rhino & Team 3D promos. They were heartfelt & jaw-dropping statements straight from the heart. Hell, even Christian made his decision to jump ship due to backstage politics of the almighty WWE! Plus the work schedule is very worker-friendly on wrestlers than WWE. One thing you forget is that these wrestlers are HUMAN BEINGS 1st & foremost! Not everybody can go 300 days a year, doing tons of house shows, hoping in anticapation for that big push years down the line. They have families, other commitments ( ROH or other indy pormotions), and their own personal reasons (to be themselves or not have some lame-ass gimmick). As Rhino said & I quote" It's not about the big money contracts; it's about making a difference!" That's really what TNA is about; making a difference each & every week.

Finally this thing about the new ECW edging out TNA; I don't think so. ECW is under the control of VINCE MCMAHON! Do you seriously think that Rhyno, Dudleys, Raven & Shane Douglas are eager go back to the new ECW"" I THINK NOT! Cuz they kno once McMahon start pimping ECW for more money; it won't be the same. Have you seen ECW lately" It like watching 1 hour of WWE programming; so that argument is getting old & tired. I watch WWE, TNA & WWECW regularly; but as a wrestling fan I love the concept of having the freedom to chose what I like. ROH is just a breeding ground for upstart talent to show & enhance their skills no more or less
Mosherboy wrote:
*Claps* That was one of the best columns I've read in ages, and I couldn't agree with you more. I'll watch any sort of wrestling if it interests me, and I know a hell of a lot about the wrestling industry, but just because I'm 14 I get flamed on forums and get told that I'm just a little kid who know's nothing about wrestling. That's not a wrestling fan talking, that's an arrogant idiot who thinks he is better than everybody just because he is a little older. Why must those people argue about what promotion is better" If your a wrestling fan, just watch the wrestling and enjoy it. If you think that a promotion is going downhill and it's product isn't entertaining, don't watch it. We're all wrestling fans, so why can't we all just get along"
[I forgot to sign my name] wrote:
A well thought out column. I am a mark, what can I say, I ohh and aww when I see something I like. I was a huge ECW fan back in the day, but it was not do to a herd mentality or a rejection of what WWE/F or WCW were programing.I just watched what entertained me, right now that is TNA and ROH. I care nothing for watching McMahon and company make dick and fart jokes on national tv, DX turned me off in the attitude era and evenmore so now. I watch wrestling for the wrestling NOT the storylines. Hence why I choose ROH.
[I forgot to Sign My Name] wrote:
well Trae, I have to say that I have some mixed feelings about the article. I just want to know for a fact of weather you've actually been to an ROH show. I live about an hour away from philly and I can tell you that paying $20 to watch an "underground show" surrounded by a perfect mix of hard-core CZW fans and pure style ROH fans chanting non-stop vicious comments to the opposing fed or wrestler was far better than the unforgiven I had to pay $60 to get into. I'm not pretending that I know more about wrestling than anyone. But I can tell you that when ROH claims to be the closest thing to strong style pure wrestling outside Japan They are definitely not far from the truth. I guess it all boiles down to what you want to see. "star power" or "good matches." Now I know as soon as I say that some idiot is gonna think that I'm saying that WWE cant have good matches. I'm saying that on a regular basis in ring of honor you will see what would be considered "Match of the Year" in WWE.

If you have seen both feds and you choose one over the other that's fine. But don't close your mind to anything other than WWE. The fact is that Vince has monopolized wrestling in the US for a long time now, and it's a breath of fresh air to see some wrestling and not the Five-Knuckle-Shuffle.

I'm not telling you what to like. I'm just saying that if you can go to an ROH, or even CZW for that matter I really encourage it. Because chances are that the future WWE stars are planted there waiting to grow.

Keep your eye on CM-Punk
Andrew Riordan wrote:
Trae Lafeta: I don't now beleive your a smark, but I am angrier at you about something else you keep doing. You keep telling people what we are, what we arn't. If someone likes ROH, then they must be an arrogent asshole. If someone posts on a forum they must not have a life, and if someone disagrees with you they must be an arrogent smark. Simply becuase I disagree with you doesn't mean I didn't read your article.

The fact is, your column (and my replies) and simple opinions. You might think that I've put in hidden meanings in my replies, hinting that I'm a spoiled wrestling fan, and I consider myself better then anyone else. For example, me saying 'I know my shit' to you means 'I'm an arrogent smark and Trae is an idiot'. It simply means, I know a fair bit of WWEs history. I'm not a delusional jackass for it.

The fact is, just becuase one watches Ring of Honor (which I can't do) doesn't give you the right to label them something. It means... They enjoy ROH. Nothing more.

You can assume all you want about me, and about wrestling fans but personally I've never read a column here I've disagreed with more. Although I suppose that makes me a delusional, egotistical, jackass right"


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