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Fear Mongering In Wrestling: How The News Can Affect Your Opinion



Daniel Bryan WWE

We’re in a very interesting and precarious time in the world we live in.  There is a genuine question as to if the news that we’re receiving is legitimate or “fake”.  Now, more than ever, news is readily available faster and from more sources than ever. And as usual, reality is mirrored in our little safe haven we call wrestling.

I don’t have to tell you guys reading how weird of an entity professional wrestling is.  The athletes are playing a character doing choreographed moves with a script and determined winners.  Yet in the past 20 years, what’s going on behind the scenes of the machine has almost become more interesting than the action in the ring.  Surely this is a byproduct of Vince McMahon’s, and subsequently all of wrestling’s, admittance that the product is in fact scripted. This opened up a brand new door at a very familiar house.  “Why did this wrestler win?” “How was that wrestler picked to have a ‘push’?” “Why aren’t you doing what I want you to do???”

Obviously, I want to be as respectful as I can on this topic because I in fact work for a wrestling news site, so attacking the very medium I am tied to is very hypocritical and quite frankly incompetent.  Still, I have to address how wrestling news, and the way it’s presented, can affect your perception and opinion of what you’re seeing. And that conversation starts with Dave Meltzer, the most popular and accomplished wrestling journalist in the world.

Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer, has created his own niche in the market of wrestling news and journalism.  He’s found a way to not only be successful, but he’s also found a way for his word to be more believable than what is often times shown on screen, which can be a dangerous notion.  If he reports something, the belief among us die hard fans is that its an unmitigated fact. If those reports, however, turns out to be wrong, the response is that “plans changed”. And while plans do change in wrestling, quite often in fact, that’s a total lack of accountability for the original news item.

I’ll give you an example.  Roman Reigns has been pegged to be “coronated” at WrestleMania 34 by Meltzer for a year, and the fans not only believed it, they swore by it.  Yet, here we are, two major Pay-Per-Views removed and Reigns is still not the champion. The response when asked what happened? “Plans changed.”  That process creates a dangerous rhetoric. Wrestling is so frenetic that feasibly, you can say anything that you want is going to happen and with the clout that somebody like Dave has, fans will believe it.  In fact, fans will go against what they’re being shown on television because of what the reports were. This creates a narrative that no wrestling company can effectively combat. This creates a version of fear mongering.

Now, I don’t mean to attack Dave Meltzer, and I don’t mean to accuse him of purposely trying to create that narrative in the eyes of fans.  However, if you look at some of the news items and stances he takes, it’s easy to question his motives. Let’s use two Daniel Bryan items for example.  Firstly, Dave Meltzer has publicly accosted WWE for having Bryan lose cleanly to Rusev on Smackdown last week, leading to Rusev being put in the Money In The Bank Ladder Match.  So much so that he’s said that Bryan should leave WWE when his contract comes up in September because WWE will never push or promote Bryan as a top level star again. This comes after Bryan’s officially been medically cleared and re-instated as a wrestler for a little over a month.  Also, this is Bryan’s first loss since returning. So now, some fans will most assuredly think, want, and clamor for Bryan to leave a company he’s been very clear that he loves. All because the main journalist in the industry created the narrative.

Subsequently, Sports Illustrated did an article and interview on The Miz.  In the interview, The Miz said “He (Bryan) doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with me.  He’s not at the level that I am.” SI used this quote as the headline for their article, and Dave responded with “It’s a sad day when an entity that is supposed to be real publishes a working quote like that, let alone highlights it.  What’s next, Thanos saying Drax is a pussy as a major sports headline.” Never mind the fact that Sports Illustrated has started covering wrestling in some form, his declaration is off base in a number of ways. First off, the overwhelming opinion is that Bryan is a much better worker than Miz, but it’s still just that; an opinion.  Secondly, attacking a legitimate sports magazine for not covering wrestling the way that you would want to is tremendously unfair and hinders the ability of that entity to cover what they want how they want. Lastly, wrestling is a very layered entity, as mentioned earlier. It’s a tough and selfish ask to want them to cover scripted entertainment and have them not cover it the way it’s presented.

As I stated earlier, I realize that I work for a wrestling site noted for its news and opinion pieces.  The one thing, however, I’ve tried to do in my work since I started writing 8 years ago was to not only be transparent and honest, but to be accountable.  I’ve made the majority of my “notoriety” by being a voice for people and fans who don’t like the overt negativity some fans seem to have. I’ve disagreed with a majority of IWC opinions, and I’ve been a “contrarian” to the thought process that WWE sucks.  With that, I realize that as small of a voice that I have, my voice does have a modicum of power. All of our voices do. That’s the reason the first amendment was enacted; to allow the average citizen to feel comfortable having an opinion and to be themselves.  So, I’m not trying to attack Dave Meltzer or any other wrestling journalists. I’m definitely not trying to call him out. I’m trying to remind people that news, no matter how true it may be, can be unfathomably biased. The news you read is intrinsically tied to your stance on whatever the news item is.  So if you don’t like WWE, you’re more likely to read news that is anti-WWE, and it’s more likely to be more news that is anti-WWE that will be reported.

We all love wrestling.  It’s why you’re on this site, (hopefully) reading this column.  So let’s not let external forces affect how we view and perceive it, m’kay?

Stay woke guys.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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