Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't Touch the Wrestlers

Scott was less than happy Friday when her personal space was rudely invaded
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Veda Scott posted this message to her social media accounts the other day:
It was in response to an incident that happened at the Ring of Honor event Friday night in Cincinnati, OH when a fan thought it was well within his rights to slap Scott's rear end after a match where she was managing RD Evans. The fan thankfully was thrown out, but according to friend of the blog Martin Bentley, that fan actually weaseled his way back into the show. So much for dealing with the consequences, eh, ROH? Then again, the company's party line seems to cater to all the worst misogynists. Who else would put on a show where a fan was allowed to wantonly throw a quarter at Seleziya Sparx in an attempt to get her to show her breasts and not get thrown out? Given that its color commentator, Nigel McGuinness, was allowed to speculate aloud whether Scott was wearing underwear during a broadcast, where "fan-favorite" Cheeseburger was scripted to sexually assault Maria Kanellis in an attempt to get heat in a feud against Michael Bennett, where the "Hoopla Hotties" were a thing that actually existed, and where the "Women of Honor" division is STILL waiting to take off, I'm not sure anyone ought to be surprised that stunted manchildren feel empowered to smack a female employee on the ass and be able to get away with it.

Still, emboldened fans don't just touch performers in the confines of ROH shows. CM Punk had an incident where he decked a fan for physically bothering him while he tried to cut a promo from the crowd a few years back. Even in the normally "safe" confines of a Chikara show, I've seen fans brazenly reach over the barricade to tussle performers' hair in ways that were unwelcome. A popular target for such an attack used to be Jakob Hammermeier (missin' u, buddy). Every time someone would reach for his hair, he'd recoil and look at them like they pissed in his sauerkraut. I never blamed him.

I don't know what makes fans feel the need to physically engage a performer on the show, but the fact is that it is not your right with a paid ticket to touch anyone involved with the show unless they give consent, explicit or otherwise. You want to slap a hand? Reach it out and hope that the wrestler will reciprocate. Otherwise, keep your damn dirty mitts to yourself. That maxim rings QUADRUPLE-true if you're attempting to touch a wrestler in a sexual manner that is clearly out of bounds. A good shorthand rule to remember is that NO ONE WANTS TO BE TOUCHED SEXUALLY unless they explicitly say so. The fact that anyone thinks otherwise and then has his punishment revoked is a slap in the face of every self-respecting wrestling fan who goes to the show just to watch some good, ol' fashioned professional wrestling.

Ring of Honor's management needs to look itself in the mirror and enact some better policies and storytelling modes that are welcoming to fans of all races and genders, but the ultimate blame belongs to the fans out there who are uncouth enough to believe they can interject themselves into a show where their only role is to cheer or boo. You don't touch the wrestlers. YOU DON'T TOUCH THE WRESTLERS. YOU. DON'T. TOUCH. THE. WRESTLERS. If you do, then you should be considered lucky if the worst that happens to you is that you get thrown out of the fucking building.