Wrestlers To Fans: Know Your Place, You Marks
If you are reading this then the title of this article likely caught your attention. However, the statement made in the title is not my expressed opinion, mine is actually the exact opposite. That opinion is the commonly expressed one of many professional wrestlers and, in my opinion, is one of the biggest problems of the industry today. With that said my apologies because this is going to be far from the common practice of unbiased, straight-to-the-facts journalism.
To further enlighten those who may not be all too familiar with the subject of discussion, it is a common opinion for insiders of many trades especially within entertainment industries to look down upon the opinions of fans. For example, any player or coach in pro sports is often seen blasting fans or the media for expressing an opinion because they haven’t laced a pair of skates at their level of competition or they don’t know the demands of working on a motion picture set.
The problem with condemning fan or media opinion is just that, it’s a freaking opinion! Every insider within the pro wrestling industry was a fan (or mark) at one point and they still are to be honest. As a matter of fact, we are the biggest marks of them all. I have seen the childhood pictures of my friends and peers. I have heard their stories of pro wrestling obsession and the journey they took to get where they are. So why look down on someone who is potentially a mirror image of you? Why alienate the 10% of your fan base who is investing in 90% of your industry.
I get it. A lot of them don’t understand politics, wrestling psychology, the physical and mental toll of the sport, the need (or balance) for kayfabe, and the overall experience required internally to put forth the best product. I get it. It would be harmful for shows to be put together by fans or based on fan opinion. I get it. Fans have a wide range of different opinions and it would be impossible to please them all (this is just as common amongst us pros). I get it. Trust me, I get it!
Here’s the thing though. We insiders do the same. Many of us are avid sport fans and we criticize many of the teams and leagues we have interest in. We give our two cents on the NHL lockout, on the trades our local GMs make, and our “expert” opinions on who will win and lose. Why? We do it because we’re fan. We do it because it’s fun. We do it because we are doing nothing more than expressing an opinion in something we are passionate about. That’s what many fail to see. Most of these “marks” who are bashing the product or are giving their take on how to put forth a solid product are expressing such opinions because they like our damn sport. Correction, they love it!
Take it from me and this is harsh but some fans have expressed some of the most asinine and ridiculous opinions. If a promotion such as the WWE gave them creative or financial control for no longer than a minute they would certainly declare bankruptcy. Some of the ideas and opinions shared with me have been so brutal that I would nearly felt justified in smacking these people across the face for talking. But I didn’t because they express these poor (or intelligent) opinions with love and passion. They are not actually in any position of power so the level of accountability is next to none. The only counter argument I can see that is valid is that some fans create a negative attitude or environment for other diehard fans or even possibly for new fans. This is possible, maybe even true but it’s a small trade off you take.
After all, these are the fans that spend so much money on us, chant our names at shows, and spread the word. Word of mouth is everything and it is the regulars and die-hard fans who spread that word. So for any business to expect their top clients to be sheep and only express opinions that fall within their guideline of approval is just bad business practice. It’s the kind of mindset that will either make some fans quit on the business or turn from diehard fan to casual fan. Believe me when I say I have seen one too many die-hard fans make that transition.
Any industry insider must understand that is impossible to please everyone and that there will always be unhappy clients. It’s near impossible to have a 100% approval rate in any business practice. That is the promise land even the most successful of business dream about. The goal is to keep that percentage to a minimal and to realize that there are some people you will never be able to please.
If you still disagree with all this while sitting on your high horse just remember one thing and that’s that I’m doing nothing more than expressing an opinion…just like the fans.