Time to delve into a topic I love to hate: Wrestling News! Find out why I feel the way I do, with a prime example inside.
Wrestling News. It’s one of those evil phrases that really gets under my skin, but it’s become a huge part of the wrestling business as a whole, and my business—discussing professional wrestling online. I can’t call it a “necessary evil,” because I don’t see it as necessary at all! But I get why it’s here, why so many people will click on it, and that it’s not going away anytime soon.
Now I sort of feel bad about what I am about to do, but it’s part of the problem. Let’s analyze a piece of Wrestling News (often dubbed as Wrestling Newz by yours truly), courtesy of Paul Davis and WrestlingNews.co.
The article linked above is the #1 trending article on that site (at least it is when I am typing this), and it’s about Roman Reigns being in a WrestleMania main event.
There are five paragraphs:
- #1 & #2 – What Paul previously told us (that Roman Reigns is in a “cooling off” period because of the negative backlash before his return from leukemia). Now, this notion is crazy, because Roman has been white hot since his return regardless of booking, and I personally saw fans in the building complaining that he wasn’t a mystery entrant into the 2019 Royal Rumble. Also, that backlash is now more than a year old—do you really need to cool off from that? No. No you don’t.
- #3 – Paul reminds us that he reported that Roman Reigns is a leading candidate to oppose The Fiend/Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36. He then provides you with “insider information” as to how the business works—because I am sure he’s been behind the scenes for years—and how the card “usually leaks out around this time.”
- #4 – He then quotes Dave Meltzer, the beginning point for all of this, who tell us “I know a little bit but I don’t know much,” as a way to build credibility for something he’ll undoubtedly say later. It’s all a strategy to get you to buy into him, and Paul is trying to use Dave’s credibility to build his own.
- #5 – This is the crux of this whole thing, here is the excerpt:
“I asked a WWE source again about Wyatt vs. Reigns and I was told that this is the leading candidate to be the main event on the SmackDown side of things and the goal is to get Reigns back into the slot of being the top face of the company.”
Paul, dude, c’mon man! At least Dave Meltzer gets referenced by those in the business, and we have stories of Eric Bischoff giving him some access to WCW, and others who admit his credibility in researching information that is largely available to the public (event sales & attendance, financials, etc). You…do a podcast? Write articles?
Bro, so do I! The only difference is I don’t pretend to be on the inside, and I am most likely more connected than you are.
Why does this happen?
I’ve wondered this for quite some time now, and think I know why. It’s the nature of professional wrestling—a fantasy world crafted for our entertainment, but one that can look and feel so real. That’s largely because it’s not “fake,” the action is often real, and punishment is absorbed and delivered, taking a toll on the human beings we see in the ring. It’s very real—planned… scripted… predetermined… but still very real.
And many fans online view Dave Meltzer as part of the business, and thus “part of the show.” And either consciously or subconsciously, they want to be part of the show as well. So they float something out there—something that they’ve either speculated or completely made up, but it “could happen”so it’s cool to them—and it gets a little reaction. They’re feeling a rush because they got something, and it grows from there.
But you don’t need to!
I write and talk about wrestling all the time. I get tons of reaction. Real reaction, real emotion, because what I wrote and say is real. It’s my opinion. The first time I ever wrote an article for 411Mania, it got a ton of response. Most of that was either love or hate (which are two sides of the same coin: emotional investment). I didn’t need the backing of “newz” to be my credibility, my presentation and confidence gave that instead. And to me, that’s far more valuable.
Furthermore, I gave my own perspective on the same topic: I said Roman Reigns is doing to win the Royal Rumble and go on to challenge Bray Wyatt’s The Fiend at WrestleMania 36. It’s my prediction, not fact. When it happens, I can brag because I saw it coming, not because I had a “source” tell me. I fully believe I know the same thing as Paul, I just present it in a way that comes from me, designed to share my opinion, and elicit a reaction. It’s real—it’s my opinion.
One thing you can also figure out is who the hot topics belong to. Wrestling fans love certain talents, and will always bite on news about them: Vince McMahon, Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Rusev & Lana, The Revival, anything The Elite/AEW, TV ratings, attendance, the Royal Rumble, and WrestleMania.
“Haters Gonna Hate!”
Plenty of “Wrestling Newz” guys are going to see this, and simply say it’s a case of “Haters Gonna Hate.” And I get that. Before I address it, let me also address some of the other sites out there like Wrestling Inc, 411Mania, SEScoops, and more. Notice they aren’t reporting news/newz that they’ve sourced. They’re really reporting what others have reported, and at times they’ll share their own perspective on the believability of the news. I dig that.
(Side note: When I was writing at 411Mania, I was once told to lay off of Dave Meltzer. “You’re not wrong in what you’re saying, but we use all his stuff!” So I did…briefly.)
But I’m not hating, not one bit. Or maybe I am—but I’m not a hater. I’m a realist, more now than ever before. I know too much. Here’s an example:
When I worked for Ring Of Honor in 2010 on their WrestleMania Weekend events here in Phoenix, a big news story making the rounds was that WWE was blocking them from booking a building. I literally had their second highest ranking official tell me—in person the October before when he came to Phoenix—that WWE wasn’t blocking them at all, they just had a hard time finding a building in general. The whole reason I ended up helping ROH was because I nailed down a building so fast. And it was dirt cheap, allowing shows that normally ran at a loss to actually turn a profit (also confirmed for me by their second highest ranking official at the time). But the story about WWE blocking them was total bullshit, and they purposely fed into it because it spun them in a positive light.
Sniffing out bullshit isn’t hard, it’s not a science at all. It just takes some common sense, and the ability to see something and ask yourself “what else could this be?” Sometimes it’s rooted in a real idea, much like my claim that Roman Reigns will win the Royal Rumble at overcome The Fiend at WrestleMania 36.
I’m not going to ask you to stop readying Wrestling Newz. But as part of my mission to help you enjoy wrestling more, I want to make sure you know what you’re reading. That perspective (there’s that word I love to use) will help you be a better fan, and enjoy what you love even more in the process.