Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Fans Can Root For Whomever They Want

It's not the fans' fault that Roman Reigns was terribly presented, so why should they root for him?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Stop me if you've read these *fire emoji* takes *fire emoji* before:

I can't believe this crowd is trying to get itself over!

WWE fans are pissed that Daniel Bryan didn't win the Rumble? What entitled jerks!

Booing Roman Reigns/chanting "Please retire" at The Big Show is disrespectful.

See? WWE was RIGHT to push Reigns over Bryan because of the injury concerns. You fans owe Reigns an APOLOGY.

Why aren't these ingrates cheering the faces and booing the heels? They're ruining the live experience.

Yes, wrestling "journalism" is filled with all kinds of scolding reprimands of crowd reactions. Whenever the show is bad, attentions turn to the people in the crowds, you know, the ones who paid money to be entertained? Well, when WWE doesn't entertain them, they don't behave, and people out there are just itching to let you know how wrong they are. In some cases, crowds can react in awful manner. For example, the RAW after WrestleMania featured an insanely lewd series of chants where the crowd tried to take turns screaming "[Woman wrestler] sucks [that wrestler's boyfriend]!" Those kinds of chants need to be shut down because they're demeaning and bigoted.

But yeah, when the garden variety feedback chants that get going because the show really isn't that engaging take over, has it occurred to any of these hacks writing about the crowd that maybe, just maybe, it's not their fault?

The main function of a crowd at a wrestling show is to pay its money and be entertained. However, the people in the stands are encouraged to vocally support or root against wrestlers, especially in American wrestling where so much of who gets put in what role is based off how people in the crowd react to them. It should then follow that promoters and bookers should be listening to the beats of the crowd, which wrestlers they lend their voices too, and which ones they're silent towards. But it all comes back to whether or not the fans are enthralled enough by what they see to spend their vocal strain on what's being presented in a constructive way.

If these vocal reactions are such an essential tool for the administration to use to gauge where it can take its wrestling show, so many alleged journalists continue to toe the company line and bark at fans to react the way companies, especially WWE, want them to the wrestlers that are being pushed? That's not entertainment, that's corporate fascism. It's one thing for Vince McMahon on his three-decade-and-counting ego trip to think his shit doesn't stink and that he should be able to push whatever crap he wants, but what about the media that's supposed to keep him honest? When those writers/podcasters/what have you fail and start inwardly yelling at fans not to root for the people who resonate with them? That is a total system failure.

Once you lose the organic crowd reaction, then you've lost what separates professional wrestling from other staged and scripted forms of entertainment. A megalomaniacal plutocrat like McMahon who has lost touch with what made him his millions in the first place losing that focus is one thing, but for "journalists" or "opinion personalities" to lose sight of that is anathema. If anything, people writing about the show should look at it with blunt honesty, and it should always be focused inward on the content creators, not at the people who pay money to get into the building. Their writing should be focused on presentation of characters and how the people behind said characters executed on said presentation. Focus should be put on the stories, promos, and wrestling, and if anything, crowd notations should not have connotation behind them. Noting that a gimmick got over is reporting. Noting about how a gimmick SHOULD be getting over is treading into disingenuous territory. If anything, these folk should have been focusing not on the fact that fans should have been rooting for Reigns all along, but why Reigns' push has been an utter failure. But I guess that would have required more than just a knee-jerk, misanthropic reaction to something that required a bit more nuance.

I don't know why commentators such as these are so lazy and outright hateful to the audience they're supposed to be catering to. Maybe they think that if they suck up to McMahon enough they can get jobs in WWE as the next Scott Stanford or Arda Ocal? I don't know. But what I do know is that talking points such as these do nothing to help the wrestling business, and they are ignorant to the reasons why fans go to shows and don't chant the way they're "supposed to." If Big Show and Kane are in the ring being awful, and the crowd starts chanting for Randy Savage and JBL, shouldn't that signal that maybe it's on the performers for not entertaining the people? Is it that insane to suggest that WWE should spend less time trying to tell people for whom to root and more building characters that are easy to support?

And am I bonkers for thinking that commentators, "journalists," and personalities should maybe stop blaming their potential audience and start putting the blame for this shit where it really belongs? The fans don't deserve this kind of bullshit blame for rooting for people that connect with them. When you go to a wrestling show, whether it's WWE or the local podunk show at the VFW, you get the right to support whatever wrestler you want. If you have any other opinions to the contrary, then maybe this whole analysis thing isn't for you.