Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I Booed 3.0 at King of Trios

Their Chikara wrestler characters may be fun and zany, but their in-character Twitters have dabbled in the gross
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
King of Trios weekend, like any mammoth event on the pro wrestling calendar, had its share of big news stories, both within and outside of the narrative. One of the most curious and controversial was the vociferously negative reaction 3Peck0, specifically 3.0, received from the Easton faithful. The reaction spawned a few quizzical reactions at the arena and online. The tag team, after all, should be one of the most beloved in Chikara right now. Scott Parker and Shane Matthews traversed across the fabric of time itself to retrieve Archibald Peck and help turn the tide against The Flood at National Pro Wrestling Day. Even without their contributions towards the rebirth of the company, they are an affable, likeable, talented tag team that has formed part of the backbone of Chikara for almost seven years now.

While I agree with any assessment of their importance in the company, and while in a vacuum I would enjoy the hell out of them, I was among the throng booing 3.0 on Sunday. It had nothing to do with anything they've done during Chikara sanctioned-events, but when you run an in-character Twitter handle that spews misogyny, I can't abide by you when you're performing.

The team's Twitter accounts, most specifically Matthews' (although Parker's dabbled in it as well), had been taking cracks at women in wrestling pretty extensively through last year. The formerly constant jabbing prodded at topics from Amazon Wishlists to blaming everyone in the SHIMMER four-way tag match in 2013 where compatriot LuFisto got hurt for being untrained, but each tweet was been noticeable enough to elicit a backlash. And honestly, in the era of social media, where in-character Twitter feeds are as integral to feud building in American wrestling, anything you post on an account that you associate with your persona is fair game. So when Parker sometimes or Matthews way more frequently went to the well of misogyny on accounts with their branded team name in the at-handle, I am not going to shake them off because they happen to be zany in the ring. Granted, the jabs seem to have stopped, but at the same time, nothing either has said has recanted on them.

Much in the same way that I have reservations rooting for John Cena with his constant use of gendered insults or that Daniel Bryan's casually misogynistic tone when referring to Stephanie McMahon makes me feel gross doing anything but appreciating my favorite wrestler's actual matches, my brain has a hard time connecting the idea that tecnicos would spew such ignorance and blind hate towards women. What's even more gross and confusing is that they continue on such a trend when the biggest company for which they work has at least attempted to make inroads to making women feel represented. Chikara is a company where women compete regularly against men and where Sara del Rey ostensibly was on the inside track to being the place's ace until she got a job as a head trainer at the WWE Performance Center.

I understand that 3.0, Matthews specifically, work as women-hating heels in BATTLEWAR in Quebec. I hate to bring up the idea of market shares or which company has a bigger fanbase, but working sexist shtick for the benefit of a much smaller company at the bereft of more successful characters in a much larger promotion feels short-sighted at the very least. I, personally, am a Chikara fan, and while I might enjoy BATTLEWAR (I've unfortunately never seen any of its shows), I am not asked to cheer for BATTLEWAR characters when I go to a Chikara show. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn't have a distinction without having separate accounts. I don't want to fantasy book someone's social media presence either, but unfortunately, what I see is what I get, and I really don't like what I'm being presented. So, am I supposed to cheer something that I don't like? If so, then what's the reason? Tell me, because I frankly have no clue.

So yeah, unless something radically changes in their Twitter games, I won't be cheering Matthews or Parker anymore. The people who also have decided to boo them are well within their rights to do so as well. Just because a wrestling company, whether Chikara, WWE, or West Podunk Wrestling at the shitty little VFW in Backwater, USA, wants me to view someone as a babyface or a heel doesn't mean I, or anyone else, necessarily has to. If 3.0 want to work a he-man woman-hater character on Twitter, they're well within their rights too, but they should probably deal with consequences, intended or unintended. If that means they get booed at the biggest promotion for which they work, so be it, because I really don't care how I'm "supposed" to react to anyone. If someone works a gross character arc on a sanctioned social media account, then odds are, I'm not going to react positively to them when they step out of the curtain to perform.