The title of this article is a bit misleading. Sure, I am talking about the above tweet that Rip Rogers sent out yesterday. But this article isn’t really about Rip Rogers. You’ll see various incarnations of the above tweet a lot on social media. To his credit, Rogers stated his position clearly and succinctly, so I don’t have to do much legwork in explaining to you his opinion. I think we have to ask two very different questions about the tweet:
–CAN pro wrestling fans watch professional wrestling without dissecting it?
–SHOULD pro wrestling fans watch professional wrestling without dissecting it?
Can pro wrestling fans watch professional wrestling without dissecting it? When it comes to what people can or cannot do, the answer will of course depend on the person. Some fans have more of an inclination to analyze what they are watching and they cannot turn off that part of their brain on a whim. Every Thanksgiving, without fail, I will show someone the cult move ThanksKilling. As you would expect, reactions wildly vary. Some people revel in the silliness of the film while others spend the film’s duration thinking about all of the ways it could have been better. I don’t blame any of them. It’s certainly true that you will enjoy ThanksKilling more if you don’t think about the film critically while watching. However, “You will enjoy X more if you don’t Y” can be applied to almost anything. The problem? Some people have to Y.
I promise that I have never entered the following into Google: “who is the booker of CZW?” Not once. Never. Through no fault of my own, I know that Sami Callihan is the head booker of CZW. I never actively sought out that information. By virtue of using Twitter, you are exposed to plenty of information that you would not have looked up on your own. So, now I know that Sami Callihan is the head booker of CZW. Presumably, that piece of information is just floating around in my mind somewhere. Let’s say, hypothetically, that it’s 2020 and Sami Callihan, Dave Crist, Jake Crist, Zachary Wentz, and Desmond Xavier are riding almost three-year undefeated streaks in CZW. How am I supposed to possibly not dissect the storyline in light of my knowledge that Callihan is the head booker? I should say that I quite enjoyed the last CZW show that I watched. My point, however, is that due to the information that pro wrestling fans are exposed to on the internet, it becomes extremely difficult for the fan not to dissect what he or she is watching.
Let’s move on to the more interesting question. Should pro wrestling fans watch professional wrestling without dissecting it? The answer to this question, too, depends on the person. Everyone enjoys professional wrestling in their own way. I think the worst part of Rogers’s tweet is that he compares watching professional wrestling to watching “any sporting event.” The comparison simply robs professional wrestling of the qualities that make us love it. I have been saying for a decade that the staged and scripted nature of professional wrestling is its biggest strength. As a pro wrestling fan, I get to have opinions about the direction of a promotion in a way that doesn’t apply to the NFL or MLB. I, for one, am grateful that the way I enjoy a professional wrestling show is wildly different from the way I enjoy any other sporting event.
I also want to add that fans having opinions about the direction of promotions has led to positive changes in professional wrestling. Look at the state of women’s wrestling now as compared to a decade ago. Through social media, I know many amazing fans that advocated for women’s wrestling to be taken more seriously. Those fans dissected the product that they were watching and wanted change. A year ago, Charlotte and Sasha Banks main evented a WWE pay per view. A month ago, I watched Angelus Layne and Keith Lee steal the show in the main event of a NOVA Pro show. I am not denying that being overly critical of all aspects of professional wrestling is unproductive. However, if you are inclined to dissect the professional wrestling product that you are watching, I would suggest doing so. Effectuating positive change in an art form that you love is worthwhile.
Well, it looks like we have reached an impasse. I thought Rogers’s above tweet was something that reasonable minds could disagree upon and worth discussing. But then he kept tweeting and things boiled down to what they always boil down to – if you have never stepped into the squared circle, you don’t get to have an opinion:
Hey Silas Young, how you doing?