At some point, we’ve all said the magic words: “I’m boycotting WWE.” Even more so, we’ve heard others say them more times than we can remember.
In the heat of the moment, it makes sense. Maybe Sheamus had just won a World Title off Daniel Bryan in less than 20 seconds. Maybe Batista won a Royal Rumble after taking a few years off to become a movie star. Maybe Test pinned Rob Van Dam in an “ECW” PPV main event. In all of those cases, we had a right to be very mad.
But here’s the thing -- How many times have you yourself either said, or heard someone else say “Because of (reasons) I’m boycotting WWE?” Now, how many of those promises of abstinence were broken soon thereafter? All of those promises were broken, weren’t they?
Isn’t that strange? Every day, people say they’re going to quit smoking and they succeed. People say they’re going to end relationships and they move on. People quit jobs and don’t call their old bosses up begging for their crummy position back. But hardly anyone who says they’re going to boycott WWE ever actually does that. They simply rattle their proverbial sabres -- proclaim that the McMahons can’t tell them what to do anymore -- and within a week, maybe even not quite a month, they’re back to following the ongoing action of the most successful and important professional wrestling company in the history of the human race.
So go ahead and get super, crazy mad about whatever booking decision you want. It doesn’t matter. You’ll always come groveling back into the warm, loving embrace of Vince, Stephanie, Shane, and Uncle Paul who, let’s face it, have been more of a real family to you than your biological relatives ever have. You will watch their programs. Your casual vocabulary will include phrases like “sports entertainment.” You will drink Mountain Dew Kickstart. You will remain a good consumer.
15 Your Reason To Boycott Is Probably Silly
Let’s look at one of the most clearly boycott-worthy moments in recent memory -- The Rock beating CM Punk at the 2013 Royal Rumble. Movie star part-timer Dwayne Johnson swooped in and knocked off a folk hero champion, all to promote whatever movie he had coming out later that year.
The fiasco was an insult and affront to wrestling fans everywhere. Yet when this video surfaced, we mocked the incensed CM Punk super fan for his justified rage and passion, even though so many of us felt the same way. So why, in our minds, did it make sense to make fun of the kid in the video? Because from our outside perspective, he’s yelling and smashing things because he didn’t like the result of a scripted fight. Can we relate? Absolutely. Does he nonetheless look silly in a vacuum? Totally.
14 There Aren’t Enough Live Indie Shows To Fill The Void
Ring of Honor, TNA, and Lucha Underground air about a combined total of three hours worth of programming every week. Meaning, put together, they only provide enough sheer quantity of televised wrestling to equal one episode of Monday Night Raw. So if you’re boycotting the WWE while maintaining your wrestling addiction, you’ll never find something more to fill the void.
Many local independent promotions are great, offer affordable tickets, and some even bring in nationally recognizable performers to appear on their shows. But hardly any have the resources needed to produce more than one card every two months or thereabouts. Going to an indie wrestling show once every 60 days instead of watching SmackDown once a week is the equivalent of going on a two day absinthe bender in lieu of having a beer after work every day.
13 Even The Competition Makes You Want To Watch WWE
Which brings us right to a more difficult problem. Let’s say you see a great independent show live at your local VFW hall and all three major non-WWE companies happen to have great episodes of TV air on the same week. What are you going to be in the mood to watch after all that? Maybe you’ll be at your limit for the amount of wrestling you can consume for a while at that point. But if you’re channel surfing and a SmackDown rerun just-so-happens to be playing on a Spanish language channel, are you sure you won’t be even a little curious about what’s happening on good ol’ dependable WWE?
Deep down, you’re not sure at all, are you? You are Vince McMahon’s mindless slave.
12 Boycotting Takes More Effort Than You’d Expect
The ubiquity of the McMahon empire presents a difficult problem for aspiring boycotters. In addition to the aforementioned channel surfing trap, a proper WWE boycott involves avoiding any and all WWE-endorsed products. Obviously you can’t wear your old Daniel Bryan "Yes, Yes, Yes" T-shirt, but how much Tapout apparel do you own? Subway -- with its locations so convenient and sandwiches so affordable the company easily survived a child adult scandal -- is not a lunch option for a WWE boycotter. If a WWE boycotter gets sleepy in the middle of the day, he or she can’t fall back on 5 Hour Energy for a pick-me-up. Any candy produced by the Mars corporation -- that includes Snickers and M&Ms -- likewise, are a no-go.
Boycotting the WWE is to watching wrestling as veganism is to eating. Even if the majority of consumers find practices at factory farms inhumane, avoiding animal products is too much effort for most of them to bother with. Upset WWE fans face largely the same dilemma.
11 It’s Too Easy To Watch
Monday Night Raw is a three-hour show on weekday prime time cable. If you’re a stereotypical dude-type bro, its only real competition is Monday Night Football, which isn’t on all year. SmackDown, meanwhile, is a two-hour show the following night. If you’re not watching WWE, what are you going to do to unwind after work? Read a book? Run five miles? No. You will watch television, because that is easiest, and you will watch the WWE, because you like wrestling and wrestling is on the TV.
To deny this is like saying food did something to offend you, therefore you will boycott eating. It’s not going to happen. Vince McMahon provided you with a sense of meaning and purpose in your otherwise miserable life, and you cannot forsake him.
10 Your WWE Network Subscription Is Already Paid Up, So….
This is the trap of the WWE Network -- You pay $10 for a PPV that used to cost something like $60. Seems like a bargain, right? Except because you want or wanted to see all the subsequent PPVs, you never cancelled your account. So in order to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, you feel like you’re wasting money unless you sit through at least one episode of The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness and, perhaps, rewatch at least one vintage ECW PPV.
If the $10 for the month has already been withdrawn from your account, not watching your WWE Network subscription is just throwing money away, isn’t it? Are you made of money? Are you a billionaire, like Vince McMahon? No. You will never be as good as Vince McMahon.
9 If You’re Boycotting In The First Place, You Care Too Much To Stop
It’s one thing to stop watching a TV show because you’ve lost interest. If you used to watch WWE, but quit largely because you just plain forget it’s on, that’s quite different than a boycott. If you’re boycotting, that means not only have you not lost interest, you’re so emotionally invested in WWE programming that you feel the need to attempt a protest. Under those circumstances, boycotting WWE is akin to breaking up with someone you’re still in love with because they cheated on you with your mom and/or dad. Sure, you’re mad. You’re frickin’ devastated. But when that drunken booty call inevitably comes at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, don’t kid yourself, you’ll come running right back to your, manipulative, emotional abuser, and you will have makeup fun with Vince McMahon.
8 Brand Diversification
Perhaps anticipating fractions of their fanbase -- as they've done so many times in the past -- turning rouge, WWE split its product’s identity up into compartments well before the most recent SmackDown/Raw roster split. While its pair of flagship programs have already set about distinguishing themselves from one another, NXT’s been cultivating an image as a wrestling show for adult wrestling fans -- “smarts,” to borrow a common phrase -- for a handful of years now.
If you’re turned off by the glitz and glamour and soap opera shenanigans of Raw, you can fall back on the modestly more wrestling-oriented SmackDown. If even that’s too mainstream for your fashionably outsider sensibilities, there’s NXT. It’s like when ‘90s punk rock fans decided Green Day and The Offspring were both corporate art, so they glommed onto Bad Religion, not realizing that Bad Religion were basically employees of the Warner Brothers Corporation and their "DIY" aesthetic was largely a marketing tactic.
7 Misplaced Hope WWE Is Going To Get “Better”
Numerous super villains in numerous movies have said it better -- but there’s nothing powerful oppressors of the drooling masses feed on more than the madness of hope. It’s the same instincts that keep that “American Dream” myth operational. If society convinces enough poor people that they’re going to become rich someday, then those poor people can be easily manipulated into electing leaders who only support the interests of the wealthy elite.
WWE works roughly the same way. The McMahon Empire allows you to believe your favorite wrestler will finally get the push you think they deserve, that Raw and SmackDown won’t pander to the lowest common denominator ever again, that Roman Reigns won’t keep getting World Title push after World Title push after World Title push.
All of those things you don't like will keep happening forever, but that doesn’t matter. All you need to believe to keep tuning in is that they might stop someday.
6 You’re Afraid You’ll Miss Something Cool
Of course, WWE has to feed your hope every now and again. Not often -- maybe once or twice a year. But you’d be surprised how little it takes to string most wrestling fans along into thinking WWE could, any day now, become whatever show they wish it was.
Most people -- especially wrestling fans -- can’t tell the difference between genuine excitement and fear of missing out. The same impulses that drove the entire globe to download and play Pokémon Go compel you to come crawling back to Vince McMahon, no matter how many events on WWE programming leave you bitterly disappointed.
When you say your bedside prayers at night, you should pray to Vince McMahon instead of God, because Vince McMahon is the one you truly serve.
5 It’s The Only Way To Connect With Casual Wrestling Fans
It’s pretty great being able to talk to other human beings about your interests without them thinking you’re an insane person from another planet. Eighty five percent of the population who describe themselves as “wrestling fans” have no idea about anything that happens outside the WWE. That’s unfortunate for them, but it means if you’re going to carry on a conversation with any of those people about your mutual interests, you’ve got to stay up to speed about whatever’s happening in McMahon Land.
Without WWE, you will be lonely and isolated and have no ability whatsoever to meaningfully interact with other human beings. Soon, you will become a shut-in, get fired from your job, and forget to bathe for months at a time. Without WWE, you will never breed and die alone.
4 Nostalgia for Your Youth
Don’t be ashamed. Like most of us, you’ve made some regrettable decisions since your carefree childhood. Back then, it appeared as though the world was your oyster and your horizon contained only possibilities. Since then, your life has become marred with failed relationships, missed opportunities, a fattened posterior, and crippling financial debt.
The only things your current existence has in common with your former hopefulness are entertainments which are frequently repackaged and resold to you by lazy, apathetic creative executives. That’s why you believe all the best rock music was released when you were between the ages of 18 and 22, even though some of that music is Creed and Limp Bizkit. That’s why Seinfeld will always be your favorite TV show. And it’s why you’ll never, ever stop giving Vince McMahon your money.
3 WWE Makes You Feel Safe
Remember your unbridled, pure enthusiasm for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and perhaps the nWo? Looking back, wasn’t it nice to be privileged enough to get to excited about an ultimately trivial endeavor such as watching wrestling? That was before your parents got divorced, and before you racked up all those DUIs and wound up cornered into the dead end job at the Amazon warehouse.
But the one constant through those tough, chaotic years, the one thing you could depend on, was Monday Night Raw always happening once a week, rain or shine. Whether or not you admit you’re a fan of WWE’s current product, it’s still there, still runs like clockwork, and will probably never go off the air. How can you even consider abandoning the WWE? Even when everything else in your life fell to pieces, WWE never abandoned you.
2 You Don’t Want To Make Triple H Sad
Uncle Paul projects a rough exterior. Among the roughest, in fact. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a heart -- one that he routinely pours into his duties as WWE COO and/or administering pummelings in the squared circle. It’s one thing to criticize WWE. Lord knows Triple H has gotten used to criticism over the years. But if everyone stopped watching WWE completely, well, that might be too much for “The Game’s” mighty heart to bear.
Has Triple H ever done anything bad to you personally? Of course he hasn’t. He’s never even met you. He doesn’t meet normal people. Triple H lives in an outer space mansion that hovers over Hartford, Connecticut. But since he’s never harmed you -- even though he could easily rip you in half like a phone book, and even though his space mansion has a laser beam that could incinerate your house with you and your loved ones in it any time he wants -- don’t you owe it to Triple H, have a responsibility even, to protect his feelings?
1 You Don’t Have Anything Better To Do
Are there more productive things you could do with your time than watch the WWE? In theory, yes.
Other people -- capable, driven individuals with self-respect and goals for the future -- could probably find tasks to focus on that may yield better results than whatever they’d get out of spending another three hours soaking in WWE content. But you’re not one of those other people. You are a lost, cipher of a human being.
So go ahead and sit there and talk about how Roman Reigns is boring. He doesn’t mind. He’s not living a flaccid, half-baked excuse for a life. He knows it’s only fair to let you keep complaining on the internet.