Steve Cook asks the hard hitting questions! Is what Brandi said really THAT bad?
Here’s something that might come as a bit of a surprise to you…
People in the wrestling business often overstate the importance and/or quality of their upcoming shows. I know this is hard to believe. I have examples just in case you don’t believe me.
Tony Schiavone told us every episode of Monday Nitro & every WCW pay-per-view was the greatest night in the history of the sport. This wasn’t true. There were, in fact, greater nights in the history of the sport.
WWE is currently telling us that their upcoming event in an undisclosed location, Jam in the Sand III, will be equal to or better than WrestleMania. Last year, they claimed their first event in said undisclosed location would be the Greatest Royal Rumble Ever. From what I understand, it was not.
My buddy Jay Leadfoot reminded me of one of my favorite hyperbolic statements the other day. Many years ago, a promotion here in the Greater Cincinnati area would end their commercials with the tagline “We’ll sell you the whole seat, BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!”. Well, I went to some of their shows, and I used my entire seat each time.
Actually, I wouldn’t call any of these people liars. Tony Schiavone was merely trying to drum up excitement for the next few hours of WCW programming. WWE is trying to get you to watch their next blood money-funded production. The indy fed was trying to draw enough of a house that they could keep running shows. They still are, last I checked.
There is only one reason to get mad about pre-show hype that I can think of. If a local indy fed advertises John Cena vs Roman Reigns, WWE should be mad because those are their independent contractors. Other than that, I see no reason anybody should be offended by people talking up their wrestling show.
But people get offended.
Here’s something else you may find surprising: People get offended pretty easily. On the surface, I don’t blame them. I myself get offended by things like racism, sexism, genocide, human rights violations, corporate greed, stupidity, etc. on a pretty regular basis!
The problem with people getting offended way too easily in 2019 is that it’s usually about stuff that just doesn’t matter. They turn a blind eye to the things that do matter, and work themselves into a lather over things that nobody in their right mind should care about.
Here’s an example from somebody who everybody knows I have a great deal of respect for:
“I feel like if you’re not satisfied at the end of Double Or Nothing, you’re not a wrestling fan.” – Brandi Rhodes
"I feel like if this statement doesn't piss you off, you're not a wrestling fan." – Greg DeMarco
— Greg DeMarco On Demand (@ChairshotGreg) May 22, 2019
Greg’s my homie and I love him like I love my weird uncle. I don’t get this take at all.
Is Brandi’s statement truthful? No. There will be wrestling fans that don’t like Double or Nothing. I, for one, don’t like the price tag. What she’s trying to do here is convince fans they will like the show so much and be so happy when it’s over that they should spend the money. Joe Sixpack hears something like this and says “Well dang, I better order me that show because I like me some rasslin!”.
Could she have done it better? Sure. You can always do everything better. Brandi could have phrased her confidence in the product they’re going to present in a way that wouldn’t have made some wrestling fans feel self-conscious about their level of fandom, or insulted that their fandom would be questioned.
I can see that this statement has gravely offended some of you. The temerity and the unmitigated gall of Brandi Rhodes to put someone’s wrestling fandom in question has people outraged. How dare she!
I don’t get it.
Are we really so insecure about our status as “wrestling fans” that we can’t handle Brandi Rhodes saying things to promote a show? This sounds completely ridiculous to me. And why are we letting Brandi, or anybody’s, opinion of our fandom affect our day? Is this a thing people are actually doing, and why are they doing it?
I know part of it is the fact that we need to point out AEW weaknesses. Heck, I did a whole column of concerns I have with what I’ve seen. With the company getting almost nothing but positive press from establishment wrestling media since its inception, people like us need to make sure the full picture is presented.
I also know that some need to make sure WWE is defended. Some feel that WWE is unfairly criticized for the things they do, and intend on holding AEW to the same type of standard. That’s fair, as long as both companies are held to the same standard. (They usually aren’t.)
Then there are others whose motives are, shall we say, iffy. They might not even mean to come off this way, and would reject the notion that they do. But there’s a certain subtext to this whole situation that makes me wonder the following:
Are we mad at the message, or are we mad at the messenger?
I remember a funny thing that happened years ago. I want to say it was 2002. Chris Jericho had a match with Rob Van Dam in the King of the Ring tournament. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t either guy’s best showing. It got fair to middling reviews. Jericho, a man with a bit of an ego, was outraged that the match didn’t get five stars from everybody as he felt it deserved to, and posted a tirade online. He suggested if you didn’t like that match, you weren’t really a fan anyway.
People laughed it off. That silly Jericho! Nobody really thought anything of it, other than the guy had some pretty thin skin.
Brandi Rhodes questions fandom over an event that hasn’t happened yet, and I see people telling her to get out of the business and stick to modeling. I see people suggesting that she doesn’t know what context means, and she should take notes from experienced men who know such things.
Because why would a woman understand words, am I right fellas?
Now, I can see people getting the argument ready. Yes, Rhodes is in the AEW front office while Jericho was strictly talent. Different expectations for different positions. I get that.
I just wonder what the reaction would have been if Nick or Matt Jackson would have said it. Or if Kenny Omega said it, or even Brandi’s husband Cody. I don’t think people would imply that they don’t know what words mean. Something tells me people wouldn’t be telling them to stick to modeling, or claiming that your humble correspondent is defending them because they’re attractive.
Even though it’s a matter of public record that I happen to find Cody very dashing. Look at my 411 archives and you’ll see a lot more discussion of Cody’s looks than the looks of Eden Stiles.
This is the part where the whatabout crowd says “Well what about Stephanie McMahon? She gets all kinds of crap from you people because she’s a girl too so nyah!”. See, here’s the thing on that: Vince gets so much more crap than she does that it’s not comparable to Brandi vs the Elite guys. Sure, back in the day Stephanie got a lot of heat for creative being garbage, and still gets some when she deserves it, but not nearly as much as Vince.
Seriously, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve called Vince old or senile or crazy. Or all of the above at the same time, along with some expletives.
Brandi will learn from this.
Rhodes is still new to her position. She’ll get better. She’ll learn to be very vanilla and speak only in corporate buzzwords. Brandi will learn not to say anything interesting. After all, in many people’s eyes she’s the wrong gender to be allowed to say anything about wrestling fans, or anything else to do with the business or life in general.
Oh, and her matches don’t get enough stars from the experts. Can’t forget that part, it’s the most important.