I consider myself a smart fan of the WWE.
Notice I didn’t use the term “smark”. Being honest, on the scale of mark to smark, I’m probably just past half way. I’m not naive enough to root for good over evil, but I don’t think I’m experienced enough to notice all the little things that can make a wrestler or a match legendary in the internet’s eyes. The first example of this that springs to mind is during the Royal Rumble. Reading recaps I see others noticing things, which leads them to anticipate what might be coming next. Watching Rumble matches myself, I never get it right.
But I consider myself a smart fan because I like to know as much as is possible about what is happening in the wrestling world. I read wrestler’s autobiographies to get an insight into the behind the scenes aspect of the business. I like to know what the spoilers are for Smackdown, and even TNA. I like to know who the next superstar in line to get a call up from NXT is. I like to know who WWE or TNA are close to signing. I might never have seen anything from Chikara, but you can bet your ass I know about the “closure” – and all the discussion about whether it’s legit. You can guarantee I know who Adam Cole is. Who Kevin Steen is. Who Kenta Kobashi is. I might never have seen a lot of people in action, but I will know of them, and have heard the praise they are getting.
Yes these can lead to a lot of false rumours, such as the strong rumours Sting was coming to the WWE a couple of years back. Obviously that never happened. But I knew it was a possibility because Sting’s TNA contract was up. But I don’t mind if rumours don’t come true – I would still rather have known about them than not.
Now, I said in the intro to this blog, on the “About” page, that I don’t have any inside information. I don’t. I hear all this from wrestling news sites – mainly rajah.com. And other wrestling blogs – mainly tjrwrestling.com. Some people on those sites do have links with the industry, so I feel like I can take what is reported on those sites as reasonably accurate.
And they are not alone. There are so many sites out there, so many sources, that it seems almost impossible to keep anything quiet. To keep anything secret. For anything to truly be a surprise.
Yet it happens.
Look at Survivor Series last year. For months the Internet had been waiting for baited breath for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins – formerly Ring of Honor champions under the names Jon Moxley and Tyler Black respectively – to debut on the main roster. But no one expected it to happen during the main event, costing Ryback the WWE Championship. And they have been the best part of WWE TV since. Look at the Royal Rumble this year. I didn’t see a thing about any possibility of a Chris Jericho return. So, when we were waiting for the number 2 entry, and it was him? Incredible. He got a huge pop from the crowd, and people all around the world were delightfully shocked.
That is why I don’t like it when WWE becomes too predictable – the crowd reactions suffer. I know I’m not a fan for the technical classic, not even for the magic on the mic. It’s for that mark-out moment. It’s for when the crowd pops huge. It’s for moments like Jericho’s return, like Brock Lesnar’s return the night after Wrestlemania (I literally shouted out in glee when his music hit). It’s for moments like The Rock’s return the night he was announced as the host of Wrestlemania. It’s for moments like CM Punk’s WWE title win at Money In The Bank 2011. The crowd made those moments by reacting so loudly.
And it was the crowd that made the Raw right after Wrestlemania this year so special. The ovation that Ziggler got was unbelievable. That has to be the highlight of his career. And I literally jumped out of my seat when The Shield interrupted The Undertaker. I am a fan for those moments that will stay with me forever, those moments that feel like they really are once in a lifetime. A 30 minute technical classic – no matter how good it is – just doesn’t resonate with me yet. I’m sure it will in time. But smaller moments are more likely to leave a lasting impression. That’s the reason one of my favourite wrestlers ever is Jeff Hardy – a lot of people say he is a spot monkey who is average at best on the mic, but if it wasn’t for him jumping off of countless ladders when I was younger, I wouldn’t be a fan today.