I’ve done it. I’ve crossed the threshold into old crotchety wrestling fan. Sure, the matches and personalities aren’t as good as they were in the 80s and 90s, but I’m starting to think a bigger problem is the fans. And fitting for this time of year, I’ve come up with 5 resolutions for wrestling fans to help make wrestling awesome again.
1. Remember no one in the history of wrestling bought a ticket to see what the fans would do.
Yes, sadly you’re not driving ticket sales. And only in very select instances have fans tuned in to see the fan reaction to the latest turn or shocking event.
Let’s be honest, you guys won’t ever be as creative as your ECW predecessors. And that was 20 years ago. From the woooos after every chop, the applause after an elaborate sequence or trying to be an active participant in the show has been done and done better 20 years ago.
So stop trying to be cute and hi-jack the show. Just let the performers do their best. Don’t like it? Don’t pay to see the next show, but don’t go to a wrestling event and try and force the spotlight on you.
2. Know your damned role.
While no one pays to see you or care about your latest ‘clever’ chant, you actually do play an important role with the presentation.
In the history of wrestling there was never a great moment or match that wasn’t accompanied by a rabid, electric fan reaction. From Bruno to Flair to Hogan to Rock and Bryan, the fans are a vital part of those epic scenes.
But that means making the viewers at home jealous they can’t be there and being part of this moment.
Get hyped, rally behind the faces and overall have fun instead of trying to impress us with your vast insider knowledge of wrestling.
3. Limit the phrase ‘This is Awesome’ to once a month
I know this one will be tough. This directly goes against the nature to start breaking out in your favorite chant whenever a wrestler laces their boots, but it’s important.
This might be the most overused phrase in wrestling to the point where it’s become a parody of a caricature of itself. Despite what The LEGO Movie taught you, not everything is awesome. Not everything magnificent wrestling moment is created equal.
Think about the last legit time you thought something was awesome. For me, that was the pre-match showdown between The Shield and The Wyatt Family from Elimination Chamber 2014. There was a genuine big match feel and the way the angle had been booked really made this feel special.
But most other times lately, it just feels like fans are saying it because they think that’s the norm. It’s not. We need to raise the bar on awesome. It’d be like breaking a glass case. Do not shatter unless something is truly awesome. You’d be surprised how often things are just pretty cool or really good, but not awesome.
And maybe, just maybe the wrestlers wouldn’t feel pressured to do crazy stunts that help shorten their career for a ‘this is awesome’ no one will remember by the next week.
4. Buy back into the drama
Congrats, you know wrestling is as fake as The Avengers, Star Wars or Game of Thrones. That curtain is never going to get pulled back again, but buying into the on camera presentation will actually make it a lot more enjoyable.
To that end stop cheering on the heels. You’re effectively saying they suck at their job by applauding their every action and chanting along with their catchphrases.
It’s up to you to help restore the fun and drama of wrestling. The good news is occasionally you get it. For both NXT TakeOver matches featuring DIY vs The Revival, you let yourselves get swept up in the moment again in cheering the faces and jeering the heels. Sure those were classic matches that told great stories, but the fans going along for the ride made for easily two of 2016’s best moments.
No one goes to a movie and midway though starts chanting ‘boring’ or ‘you deserve it.’ And nobody goes to a Haunted House attraction ready to say how fake everything looks. They just watching to be entertained. Treat wrestling the same way and it’s surprising how much fun is possible.
You know why Ellis Mbeh went viral after The Undertaker’s Streak was ended? He had a genuine reaction. Wrestling/sports entertainment desperately needs fans like him and The Miz girl to get invested in the drama and stop acting like they’re too kewl for wrestling.
5. Stop saying ‘Holy S*•!’
This one is real simple and just about common courtesy. There’s kids in the audience. This largely applies to WWE audiences since they allege to be a PG company.
Like ‘this is awesome,’ this is a chant that gets dragged out way too often. But just consider the younger audience members next time you want to spout off about divine crap.
So now that I’ve scared all the kids off my lawn, let’s see if any of those become more of the norm in 2017. Probably not, but it’s fun to dream, isn’t it?