Gentle reader, I’m an old man. At 40 years of age, I’m proud to say I can claim 33 years of love and adoration for the awesome spectacle that is professional wrestling.
During this long run as a fan, I’ve seen plenty of would-be legends, plenty of true blue legends, plenty of technicians, high flyers, grapplers and superheroes. I’ve seen some of the best talkers the world has ever known. I’ve seen bump machines, spot monkeys and monsters. I’ve seen little people and I’ve seen giants. Pro wrestling comes in thousands of different shapes and sizes, has thousands of different voices, and based on everything I’ve seen, I feel safe in saying I still haven’t seen it all.
That’s the true beauty of pro wrestling for me. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, it throws me a curveball that buckles my knees and completely surprises me. It’s why I continue to watch, even with the knowledge I’m no longer the target demographic of the largest wrestling, er sports entertainment company in the world.
“Perfect” doesn’t exist
From time to time, I’m as guilty as anyone of being too judgmental, despite my continued efforts to avoid acting in such a way. I don’t know why it is, but we pro wrestling fans are entirely too nit-picky about the things we see and hear on television each week, aren’t we? There are millions of us watching each week; we’re not all gonna get to see exactly what we want all the time, yet we remain a whiny bunch. We’re all seeking this mythological perfect show, as if such a thing ever existed. Go back and watch some old ECW or Attitude Era WWE programming. There was a ton of filler on those shows too. My point is, there’s no such thing as “perfect”.
I do my best to remind myself to sit back and enjoy the ride a little bit more. I mean, it’s pro wrestling; it’s okay to not take it so damned seriously. Personally, I don’t ever wanna see The Great Khali come back and wrestle again, but I guarantee you, somewhere in the world right this second is a person who thinks that dude has “one more run with the strap” in him.
There are plenty of people out there perfectly happy seeing Brock Lesnar work 10 days a year.
Someone in reading this article while rocking a homemade Tamina Snuka t-shirt.
The thing many of you find objectionable about pro wrestling is the very thing that makes it so great: there’s something for everyone.
Championships aren’t participation trophies
For months I’ve read complaints concerning WWE’s supposed indifference to anyone not named Roman, Braun or Brock.
“KO’s being wasted!”
“It’s Nakamura’s time!”
“Finn Balor is being buried!”
“Anderson and Gallows should go back to Japan!”
Folks, not everyone is meant to carry a championship and they shouldn’t be treated like participation trophies. Try and remember, as much as you might love a particular wrestler, as popular as they might be, that does not guarantee them a title run. Hell, when I was 10 years old, I thought Billy Jack Haynes shoulda been headlining WrestleMania III against Andre the Giant. See how wonderfully silly wrestling fandom can be?
Fans, find positives rather than dwell on negatives
Pro wrestling is doing just fine. It’s arguably doing better than it’s ever done before, at least from the standpoint of variety. There are a multitude of successful promotions all across the globe, most of them now just a click away thanks to the greatness of online streaming services. WWE too kid-friendly for you? Try NJPW or ROH on for size. New Japan gotten too “mainstream” for you? Pro Wrestling NOAH and AJPW are there for the consuming. Don’t like watching yoked up monsters wrestle? Give Dragon Gate a look. Progress, DDT Pro, Stardom, Impact, and a whole host of other promotions offer streaming services to showcase their particular brand of pro wrestling as well.
Rather than showing up every Monday and Tuesday to complain about what you’re not getting from WWE, find a promotion more to your liking and rep the hell out of it. It’s a far better use of your time and energy.