Hello, again WNW People, Mitch “Big M” Adams here welcoming you to another edition of….THE HOUSE OF “M”.
Something has been bugging me for a long time WNW People (I know, I know, what else is new) but this has been something that’s been on my mind for years. Something I’ve never been able to properly articulate…until recently. You see for as long as I’ve been an avid reader and now a contributor here at WNW, I’ve always felt that they were two distinct and completely separate segments of the audience watching WWE television every week. And the divide only seemed to widen as NXT continued to gain more and more success, consistently putting on more critically acclaimed shows than the main roster. I had tried in the past to talk to others about this, but usually, my theory was dismissed fairly quickly and declared to be utter nonsense.
But then I finally hit the nail on the head during a recent WNW Raw open thread. Finn Balor was making his trademark “Demon” entrance, half the crowd in attendance were going nuts for it and the other half were dead silent. People were speculating why this was, and yours truly came up with the answer…the first half of the crowd were going nuts because they were true pro wrestling fans while the other half who were silent were just WWE fans.
Now if you find yourself scratching your head over that summary, please allow me to explain. WWE is the biggest show in town, there is no denying it, BUT it is not the ONLY show worth watching, it has never been and it never will be. True pro wrestling fans will watch other promotions, such as Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, New Japan and so on. They do so because they realise those promotions have a product worth watching, and quite often those promotions manage to put on better shows than WWE. (No really, it’s true!) But WWE fans will only ever watch WWE, and usually, scoff when you dare mention other promotions.
True pro wrestling fans pay to see independent pro wrestling shows produced by their local promotions, even though the venues are typically dirty, have no air conditioning. The entrance way in these shows tend to be cheaply constructed, plus the ring looks ugly and sounds even worse when workers take a bump on it. So why do fans go to such events? Simple, it's because almost every major star for the last 30 years in the industry, from Steve Austin to John Cena, all got their start wrestling in those filthy arena's, those hot, stinking venues in front of 40 or 50 people and not getting paid much (if anything) to do it. You won’t find the next big star at body building tournaments or beauty contests, you’ll find them working on indy shows. But a WWE fan would NEVER be caught dead at a local indy show, and would laugh at the suggestion of checking one out.
True pro wrestling fans either watch or have tried to watch NXT. Now I realise not everyone has the WWE Network for a variety of legitimate reasons, but there are other ways people watch NXT online (none of which are endorsed by me or WNW). But most WWE fans just don’t bother with NXT, so when someone like Finn Balor comes out and makes his “Demon” entrance that segment of the live crowd who only watches WWE stays silent and say to each other “Who’s that small guy with the body paint, why isn’t John Cena on this show?"
True pro wrestling fans recognise WWE isn’t perfect, they make the wrong decisions sometimes, and they have issues they refuse to address. From the way WWE’s higher-ups focus solely on “LOOK” when deciding who gets pushed and who doesn’t regardless of talent, stating over and over again that wins and losses don’t matter when creating new stars, pretending the person they have picked to be the new face of the company just isn’t connecting with the audience no matter how hard they push him, the illogical and counter-productive manner that John Cena’s matches are frequently booked at the expense of the mid card, and the obvious hypocrisy of Brock Lesner not being suspended for failing a drug test. WWE is far from a perfectly run company these days (name one company in any industry that is). But WWE fans won’t hear of it, they take EVERYTHING WWE says and does as gospel. To them, WWE can do no wrong.
Now before you start accusing me of going on a rant, let me just say I don’t have any ill feelings towards WWE fans, I just think they’ve been institutionalised. Because WWE is the biggest show in town they think all other shows aren’t worth watching. Because WWE is where all the biggest stars in the industry eventually go they think WWE Superstars are all they should care about. Because WWE has always pushed workers with a certain “LOOK” they think that’s how all workers should look like. Because they are only fans of WWE they don’t understand why a lot of people criticise WWE at times or enjoy watching workers who have made their name elsewhere before coming to WWE.
WWE has become a victim of its own success. They’ve tried to convince the whole world that they are the only show worth watching (something that just isn’t possible for any type of entertainment company) and now they have a divided audience on their hands...and it's entirely their fault.
I don’t envy any WWE creative team member, any WWE higher up, or especially any WWE Wrestler having to deal with that on a day to day basis, and I certainly don’t have any ideas on how they can solve the problem. All I know is the divide is getting larger every year, and they can’t do anything to please one segment of the audience without pissing off the other. And it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse as the years go by.
Battle lines have been drawn, and I now have to ask you, the WNW readership, have you ever felt pressure to pick a side? Because I have.
And even though I picked a side LONG AGO…I don’t like the fact that I had too. It takes away from the enjoyment of watching pro wrestling, and more importantly it is now having an unwanted effect on ALL respective pro wrestling promotions, forcing them to change their product accordingly to appease either segment of the audience. And it breaks my poor wrestling loving heart to see it happening.
What do you think WNW People?
Follow me on Twitter @TheBigM91