Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wrestling High School, or Why I Don't Wanna Hear about Who Disrespected Whom

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Centers of a firestorm that I wish I'd never known about
There's a reason this is the first time you're going to be reading about the supposed disrespect shown by the Young Bucks towards Booker T. It's the same reason why I don't follow Joey Image on Twitter anymore, or why I bristle at people who retweet his "YOU NEED TO RESPECT THE BUSINESS" BS rhetoric. I hate hearing about treating this mythical thing like the "business" with a fake layer of respect that's been propped up by guys who never fully left high school. I also don't want to hear about how people I generally like - and I like both the Young Bucks and Booker - bristle and act like assholes over feeling entitled over respect or being portrayed as disrespectful, whether right or wrong.

Granted, I haven't come to say that these wrestlers need to grow up and that they need to get out of this mold that respect is earned through tenure, not through deeds and demeanor and whatever other happy horseshit code they abide by. It's as old as wrestling itself, and hey, if that's how they want to conduct their business, then hey, good for them. I don't want Undertaker coming to my office and telling me how to conduct business there. Even if I think how they conduct their locker room code of ethics or respect or whatever is pedantic and childish, it's their business. What they do behind closed doors is what they do behind closed doors, and there's a reason why I'm an engineer and Booker Huffman and the brothers Massie both went into the wrestling business.

But that's the thing. If Booker didn't take to Twitter to put the Bucks on blast, then I wouldn't have known about it. If Rob Van Dam hadn't slammed the Bucks for "disrespect" before they left Impact, I wouldn't have known about it. If the Bucks and their brother Malachi hadn't responded in kind on social media, I wouldn't have known about it. Now, we're inundated with this wave of "he said, he said" accounts to incidents that maybe shouldn't have been big deals in the first place. Furthermore, you get Booker and Malachi carrying on to the point where I unfollowed both of them.

It's bad enough when the dirtsheets report on this kind of thing like it's news, but they can be ignored because hey, unless they have primary, neutral sources who are able to be named transparently, it can be dismissed. But when you have the people themselves taking to Twitter to fight in an attempt to curry favor with the masses, it gets right in your face, and you have to deal with the reality that people you enjoy on television can be assholes, or at the very least, they can be fool enough not to keep their dirty laundry contained within the confines of their locker room.

That's what gets me about people like Image. They want it both ways. They sanctimoniously preach about how we fans need to stop being disrespectful when we refer to wrestlers by their real names or (in what is the most hilariously preachy and wrong example) when we predict how a match is going to go, (and it's not just Image who does this, a lot of mainstream wrestlers do too) but then they carry on in public, either airing dirty laundry or weighing in on dirty laundry. I mean, if referring to a wrestler by his real name is disrespectful and invasive of their privacy, what does it say when they throw those otherwise private issues into my face? I would say that airing your own dirty laundry, or even worse, commenting on someone else's is far more damaging to this imaginary respect than would be if I referred to these men by their real names1 (which aren't exactly secret anymore). When Shane Helms is posting passive-aggressive blogs piling on the Bucks, detailing why "RESPECT" is so important, that's giving everyone a peek into the backstage world of these people, one that by all accounts, we should not be allowed to see. So, which way should it be?

Personally, I would much rather try to stuff the toothpaste back into the tube and go back to a world where the wrestlers handled their business internally and didn't blab to interviewers or take their fight to Twitter. Especially in the case of the Young Bucks and the people they may or may not have disrespected, I don't know whose side to take, mainly because it's all based on hearsay. When you have disputes between two parties, and no one's really there to witness, that's all it is. I don't know either party in this case personally either, so why should I feel the need to judge like I do? For all I know, RVD and Booker could be onto something. For all I know, RVD and Booker could be full of shit and have really fragile egos, taking something innocent the Bucks did and misconstruing it because they feel like they're owed something. But the thing is I don't know, and I'll probably never know.

And the whole not knowing thing? I think I liked it better that way.

1 - If you take that as an explicit endorsement to refer to guys by their real names, congratulations, you've missed the point completely.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein - Please visit his site to view the plentiful amounts of pictures he's taken for DGUSA, ROH and other indie feds: Get Lost Photography

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