Monday, June 6, 2011

The Fans Didn't Ruin a Damn Thing

The Hulk Hogan Facebook/Twitter comment controversy is absurd because he's a guy who owns a company that caters to wrestling fans blasting wrestling fans for not being grateful enough to appreciate his product. This is the kind of delusion we all like to laugh at, even if no one would really pay it any mind if we didn't shine a light on the stupidity. Could I have let it alone on Saturday? Probably, but then again, I just don't like being condescended by a guy that wants me to spend my hard-earned dollar on his shitty, fourth-rate imitation of what wrestling was in 1998 (and unless you count the portion of my cable bill that goes to Spike TV, he's been unsuccessful in that endeavor).

However, what I find fascinating and infuriating is when fans start getting on the self-hatred train, or to be more accurate, when some fans start blaming others for the downfall of wrestling. "The Internet killed wrestling!" they cry, despite the fact that there are as many opinions as to how wrestling should be on the Web as there are grains of sand in the Sahara, and that booking to some nebulous body would be impossible. But let's entertain that notion for a second.

It's true, Vince Russo loved to book to the smarks and to the Internet. Hell, he still does. However, if he's booking to such a small percentage of the audience, then whose fault is that, the niche fans, or the guy who spurns the fans at large FOR the niche fans? That's the reason why people who are in charge are in charge; they have the good judgment to know which people to listen to and which ones to ignore, or at least they should. Shame on Russo for initially plunging WCW into the mire by continually booking to a niche crowd. Shame on WCW for continuing to employ him after his track record kept speaking for him. A million shames on Dixie Carter for continuing to employ him after a decade-long track record of futility.

The biggest fallacy though is believing that the WWE booked to smarks after Russo left. The biggest notch in the case against that argument is the Invasion angle. If so-called smarks booked the Invasion angle, and this is assuming that there's such thing as a nebulous band of fans on the Internet that all share the same brain, then do you think that the WCW faction would have been jobbed out as hard as it was? Do you think DDP would have been made Undertaker's bitch? That Booker T would have had to have played lackey to Steve Austin and Kurt Angle rather than leading the WCW guys himself? Hell no. If the "smarks" had their way, then RAW would have turned to Nitro, Hugh G. Rection would have unified all the titles and Eric Bischoff would have caned Vince McMahon on live television for 82 weeks straight.

It's coincidence that "smarks" liked the small guys before WWE pushed them. If Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit didn't get the reactions they got from larger crowds, there's no way the WWE would have pushed them. Jericho, Guerrero and up until the time he murdered his family in cold-blood, Benoit, were all super over with the WWE fans-at-large, and that's why they all got to main event status. Not because the WWE booked to smarks. If that were the case, where was Dean Malenko? Lance Storm? Jerry Lynn?

The fact is that the content-controllers have all the say in what goes on your television. If they try1 to cater to smarks, it's their problem, not ours. If they put out content that doesn't draw or is low-rated or isn't satisfactory, it is their responsibility. I don't have to watch wrestling. I choose to watch it because I like the artform. I am free to choose what content providers I support with my money, my time and my attention. If I don't like a product, I'm free to do so, and it is not my fault for not liking it. If I choose to criticize a product, it is my protected right by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to do so, as long as what I say about that product is factual or at the very least is presented as opinion. The former means that any failing of a product is due to the people producing it, not the people consuming. The latter means that I don't have to shut up and keep my voice to myself.

This is what Hogan, Bischoff and a certain sect of sophist fans need to realize. Of course, it's easier to blame anyone but yourself for your own failings if you're delusional and egotistical like Hogan seems to be. And it's fun to play troll if you're on the Internet and you really have nothing better to do. But really, it's a tired act and a tired talking point.

1 - And the key word is try, since it's IMPOSSIBLE to cater to nerds of any branch of entertainment. Case in point, people actually criticized X-Men: First Class this weekend because it didn't have continuity with X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, despite the fact that some of those same people were the ones who loathed those last two movies. This is why we can't have nice things.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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