We here at TWM are wrestling fans and we want to see EVERY promotion succeed on its own level. We have our favourites, and we have promotions we are less than keen on, but I think I speak for us all when I say that we want wrestling to succeed. We want exciting, dramatic cards all over the world being watched by sell-out, white hot crowds.
The outpouring of love for Wrestle Kingdom 9 on the opening weekend of the new year, therefore, was music to all our ears. Many of us had experienced glimpses of New Japan over the years but not all of us had watched an entire show from top to bottom. Even less of us had ever had the chance to watch it “live” (via iPPV, in this case). If you haven’t already seen it, then do what you can to see it.
But one thing that struck me about the love on social media for the event was that there was also a lot of negativity on display. Not about the event itself, but about the comparisons being made with it and the WWE. Twitter remarks about “the WWE could never do anything like this” or “you don’t see that move in WWE” were ten a penny. Of course there is some merit in those viewpoints, even if the people making them are not allowing for the differences in promotions and the audience they are catering for, but it just strikes me as sad.
What sort of a mind watches the “best ever show of professional wrestling in history” and rather than enjoying it for what it is, watches it through a prism of hating on the WWE? Would I watch Real Madrid, for instance, and constantly proclaim that “Manchester United can’t play like that”? No, I’d watch Real Madrid and appreciate their play. The comments, however, merely continued a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent…. Bashing and Trashing WWE.
They are the easy target in many ways, given their huge dominance of the global market. I won’t sit here and argue with anyone who states that 2014 was a year of up and down’s for the company, but I will sit here and argue with anyone who says there was nothing of merit. And then I would say that if, after that discussion, you still steadfastly believed it was 99% rubbish why the hell do you keep watching? As a James Bond aficionado I have sat through some dreadful movies in the franchise. But I continue to watch because for every A View To A Kill there has been a From Russia With Love or The Spy Who Loved Me. For every Die Another Day there has been a Skyfall or a Goldeneye. If the last six movies had all been honest-to-goodness terrible I wouldn’t be wasting my money on the seventh. Similarly there’s a reason why my Simpsons DVD box-sets collection stops when it does…
It’s never been easier to access wrestling. I watched my first full Japanese show, the really rather awesome All Japan Women Destiny 1995 event, in 1996. Mainly I was just in love with Bull Nakano, of course, but it is a FANTASTIC event. To get it I had to arbitrarily discover the world of Tape Trading through a small advert in a Wrestling magazine, send off my £5 note disguised in an envelope and hope that the guy I was sending my money to was trustworthy. Now I can click my mouse and almost instantly access any action I want. And, if I’m so inclined, without paying a penny. With all the choice you have at your fingertips these days, why would you continue to watch Raw every week if you hate it so much? Sure we all expect bad episodes of any long-running TV show but when all you’ve done for a year is state how terrible Raw is, how you don’t know how anybody could like it and the fact that you hate 99% of what happens on it why would you watch it? I don’t have three spare hours a week to watch something I think is “terrible”, much less the inclination to spend the same amount of time online telling everyone else how terrible it was.
So I end with a small plea. If you genuinely hate the WWE as much as you proclaim to, just stop watching and commenting. Use those three hours to do something productive and that you enjoy. If, on the other hand, you’re just following the crowd and “popular opinion” then start to think outside the box. Praise Ryback when he does a decent interview, admit it when John Cena has a good match and acknowledge the times the WWE get it right. You might find that there’s more to enjoy than you previously thought. You might also find that when you don’t “complain” about the wrong person getting pushed or the bad booking of a match you actually get interesting discussions coming back your way and the enjoyment of discussing wrestling with other intelligent and like-minded fans…