by Craig Higham - February 28, 2014
QUESTION: When was the last time you enjoyed a wrestling PPV without complaining about John Cena, WWE writers/creative, Triple H, predictability, talent getting screwed/held back/poorly booked, or the product not being as good as the attitude era etc?
If I was answering that question, then a long time ago, if I asked my kids that question then they would say The Royal Rumble 2014, why because professional wrestling is still a magical product to them, and they have yet to be influenced by the knowledge of how it all works behind the curtains.
At the end of the Elimination Chamber on Sunday (Monday Australian time), if you watched the faces of the crowd, you would have seen two distinct types of faces. The first type of face came from the kids and the casual fans, their faces were of disappointment and tears flowing and hatred towards Kane and Triple H, that their hero Daniel Bryan was again screwed out of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The other faces belonged to, what I will call the full time wrestling fans, and our faces were like, yep exactly how we thought it would happen.
Walking out of the arena the younger, casual fans whilst disappointed, would still be on a high after witness a great match, and knowing at least their hero got close. The full time fan would have walked out of the arena disappointed that the WWE creative did exactly what we knew they would do and we predicted the result of every match.
Ask the casual, younger fan what they thought of the PPV and the response you would typically get would be “it was a great show” while responses from full time fans along the internet “went average PPV, The Wyatt’s/Shield match saved the night”.
Finding out how the world of professional wrestling works is no different to finding out how magicians do their tricks. After watching shows like Breaking the magicians code we now watch magicians not for the cool magic, but to see if we can spot the deception. A simple card trick no longer thrills us, we need to see the likes of Dynamo walking down the side of a building. We are doing the same to professional wrestling, we are not watching the art of wrestling anymore we are watching for mistakes and things to complain about. A basic wrestling match is not enough, we need tables, chairs, ladders, cages etc
This has me wishing sometimes I was the younger/casual fan again, so I could sit back and enjoy the magic that is professional wrestling. Thinking back to Wrestlemania III my first PPV I ever saw, and I remember every match and moment with fond memories. Yet if I go back and watch it now, then some of those matches on Wrestlemania III were not that good. The Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes Full nelson match was very ordinary, The Iron Sheik and Nikiolai Volkoff vs. The Killer Bees was your typical filler match before the main event, but as a younger fan those issues didn’t concern me. All that mattered during that PPV was, did my favourites win, or at least lose because the bad guys cheated. It is this innocence in watching professionally wrestling that the wrestling writers appeal to, this innocence which is why WE started watching professional wrestling in the first place, and is something that we have forgotten when we sit on our computers and predict (due to our understanding of the business) what is going to happen.
Leading up to Wrestlemania 26, I did not hear or read any rumours about Shawn Michaels retiring, so for the first time in a long, long time I felt that The Undertaker was going to lose at Wrestlemania. Shawn had lost to him last year, so the business dictates The Undertaker do the same on this year. While the Wrestlemania 25 match between the two was a better match, I remember the Wrestlemania 26 match more due to the emotion I had invested into the match. It was like I was the younger / casual fan again.
Last year’s Streak match against CM Punk, while being a match of the year candidate, us full time fans knew the streak wasn’t ending so the match (for me) doesn’t rate in the same ball park the Wrestlemania 26 match.
The full time fan now seems to get their enjoyment from finding out spoilers and rumours, correctly predicting match outcomes, complaining about how management is running the company and putting their thoughts out there in how they would have done the match/show. When it comes to the actual show, we are so caught up in if we were we right, what is wrong with the show, which superstar is not getting the push they deserve etc, that we actually forget to enjoy the event.
I realise that there have been some WWE PPV’s recently that have deserved our criticism, however my kids watching the same PPV did not have that same feeling.
My challenge to all of us full time fans this year is for at least 1 PPV this year, do not read everything on the internet before the event, do not sit there watching for a botched move or moment, do not worry if you favourite is not on the card, or not in the main event, don’t roll your eyes when John Cena walks out for the main event but most of all, watch a PPV with a young or casual fan and for a brief time at least rediscover the magic that you used to feel about professional Wrestling.
Hooroo and see you next week.
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