Being a wrestling fan sure comes with its peaks and valleys...which is a fancy way of saying highs and lows.
This notion makes complete sense when you consider the fact that people generally love wrestling or absolutely despise it, as it's very rare that there's a middle ground.
Passionate wrestling fans are sometimes, stereotypically, dissatisfied with the state of society and are very introverted individuals. They view wrestling as kind of a safety net that they can turn to, especially on Monday nights. Granted, wrestling fans may be bashful in everyday life, however, do not mess with their safety net! Die-hard fans will surely let you know if there is something going on in a wrestling storyline that they disapprove of.
Despite the negative stigma that "it's fake," it takes a lot to make a successful WWE Superstar. A potential champion must consistently deliver entertaining and compelling matches and promos. He/she must be relatable to the audience, which means they must be someone that the fans would want to gravitate toward. Last. but not least, they must be durable, as we've witnessed one of the most injury plagued years in wrestling history.
Enter Dean Ambrose for the description above. Fans are unanimously stoked that this common man that worked his ass off has finally be rewarded - a definite high. But there are some freaking lows that come along with being a wrestling fan.
Here are 8 Highs and 8 Lows That Come Along with Being a Die-Hard Fan.
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16 High: Time Consumption
Monday Night Raw is the longest episodic television show still running today. Think about other popular shows that are out there right now (this may be nauseating, but we're working towards something). Whether it's reality or non-reality, shows generally run once a week, for an hour. Watching one hour of your favorite program in a miserable week that has 168 hours is highly unfulfilling. It's kind of like a tease and you find yourself looking at the walls once the episode flies by.
Monday Night Raw is three hours long, SmackDown is two hours, and once a month there is a Pay-Per-View (which is not really considered a Pay-Per-View anymore due to the WWE Network) on a Sunday. That is a lot of content.
15 Low: Not Watching Isn't An Option
Sometimes this immense amount of content is subpar (for reasons that will be discussed later). Simply put, wrestling fans complain a lot. But despite all the complaints, the die-hards will never change the channel and they will NOT miss an episode, as it is simply not an option. They will proceed to voice their displeasure and wait it out until it gets better. Basically, avid wrestling fans will never abandon the ship as they are far from fair weathered.
Rather than not showing up and staying mum about the lackluster show, fans at a live event resort to other tactics to voice their unhappiness by chanting "boooooring" or, for one special case, "please retire." Bottom line is that even if the product stinks at times, wrestling fans are in it for the long haul.
It seriously is a long haul because....
14 High: No Offseason
That's right, there is no offseason to deal with. A fan of any professional sport under the sun has to deal with an offseason. The haters currently reading will protest: "BUT WRESTLING'S NOT A REAL SPORT!"
Despite the freakish athleticism and raw talent that these wrestlers possess, we concede that it isn't a real sport. But even the lowest of impact sports have an offseason, as well as your favorite sitcom. Some folks actually go into a television hiatus when a season of The Big Bang Theory ends.
A huge high of being a wrestling fan is that it's a constant stream that never ends. This is part of the reason that the content can be subpar at times. It can be a struggle to come up with mind-blowing storylines when there is actually no time to sit back and brainstorm.
13 Low: A Bad Pay-Per-View Can Start Your Week Off On The Wrong Foot
Let's paint a picture for you here.
It's Sunday night, your weekend is effectively over (you're likely hungover because...who are we kidding), and it's back to the grind the next day, followed by another four days of going through the motions and waiting for the weekend. The Pay-Per-View however is a curveball and a wrestling fan has been secretly looking forward to it all week, particularly if it's a major show like the Royal Rumble, SummerSlam or, the grand daddy of em' all, WrestleMania.
If the show flat out sucks, it leaves a bitter taste that cannot be described unless you are a wrestling fan, as you sit there pondering the week ahead as the credits roll and Michael Cole screams incoherently.
Ah yes, it's a long road ahead after a poor Pay-Per-View. But, to be positive, it does have the reverse effect if it's a great show.
12 High: Monday Nights Are Sacred
Seriously, who likes Mondays? We just mapped out the reasons above about why they suck and there's no need to say more about it, as it's pretty self explanatory.
Monday Night Raw is our one constant; our rock, if you will. Regardless of how bad Monday kicked your ass, Monday Night Raw is there to look forward to. It's the perfect night to fall on because not only is it the day where people are in the worst moods, but it's also the day where nothing is really going on. If Raw fell later in the week, or on a Friday or Saturday, sometimes adulthood obligations can get in the way. Stuff like work functions (corporate schmoozing), parties (someone's birthday that you don't really care about), or miscellaneous tasks like helping a friend move out (the worst).
11 Low: Wrestlers Getting Rammed Down The Fans' Throats
Roman Reigns is somewhat of a victim of circumstance. It's not his fault that WWE brass decided to have him win the 2015 Royal Rumble over Daniel Bryan, who happened to be more "over" than anyone else in the company at the time. His main event match at WrestleMania with Triple H was also highly scrutinized, but he wasn't the one that decided to put on a nearly five hour show or chose his opponent. By the time Reigns and Triple H got out there, the crowd was simply spent as the show was just too long. Triple H is also almost 47 years old and his best days as a wrestler are clearly behind him.
Finally, it's also not his fault that he's being rammed down the fans' throats. Wrestling fans do not like to be told who to cheer for. Week after week, Reigns parades down a path destined for failure as Vince McMahon is adamant on getting him over with the fans, despite the constant boos. This doesn't only apply to wrestling, take Donald Trump for example. The more the media tells people that he's a buffoon, the more people are inclined to support him, as nobody likes being told what to do.
Reigns is a decent worker, with limited mic skills, and would be way better suited as a heel.
10 High: Using Wrestling Terminology In Everyday Life To Confuse People
In the past entry, we used the terms "over' and "heel," and thought nothing of it because it's effectively part of our vocabulary, but non-wrestling fans would be left scratching their heads.
There's nothing quite like being at the office and claiming that your boss took a heel turn because he/she is being a jerk lately. This also applies if one of the harder workers gets a promotion, as we'd call it a push. However, if you are the boss and are disappointed with an employee and have to act mad (even though you could care less), it's very important to not break character, aka kayfabe.
Perhaps the most commonly used term in the wrestling business, that is the most ridiculous to the ears, is "baby face." To us, a baby face is simply a good guy, but the term, in its essence, makes zero sense. In no parallel universe does having a face that resembles a baby correlate with having a fantastic character. But to us, it's second nature!
9 Low: Injuries
There are a hell of a lot of injuries that take place in wrestling, even considering that it's "fake." This past year has unquestionably been the most injury plagued year in WWE history. Another downer about these injuries is that they're usually serious as the wrestlers generally miss a significant amount of time. In the past year, the roster has been deprived of: Daniel Bryan (career ending), Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Rusev, and Cesaro.
The roster is now slowly getting healthy, and Randy Orton is set to make his return. But it was freakin' hard to keep watching week after week when the program's main stars were constantly hurt.
To put a positive spin on it, had it not been for the injury bug, Dean Ambrose most certainly wouldn't have gotten his shot. Ambrose was the one constant throughout this plague as he'd deliver solid matches, week after week.
8 High: The Attitude Era
The Attitude Era was one of the most profitable eras in wrestling history. It was a point in time where the competition (WCW) effectively got buried and two of the greatest stars of all time were born, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock. To this day, people ask: "who will be the next Stone Cold or Rock?" We'll get into why those two particular characters were so successful later.
The hokey/tongue in cheek aspects of wrestling which were replaced by soap opera storylines and rebellious actions probably shouldn't have been on cable... it was wonderful. To this day, young ones (and middle aged ones) are still walking around and doing the cross chop and yelling "suck it." Just over a year ago, at UFC 182 after Jon Jones defended his Light Heavyweight Championship, he proceeded to do the crotch chop to a demoralized Daniel Cormier.
What were saying is that even if the product isn't that great nowadays, we can always hit up YouTube and fire up a 15 minute stunner compilation or 20 minutes of The Rock cutting promos, and it will put a smile on our faces.
7 Low: (Attitude Era) Tough to Defend At Times
As awesome as it was, it was tough to defend at times. When wrestling haters come out on the attack, us fans aren't fools and we'll give solid reasoning as to why it wasn't trashy television. But damn, there were times where it was tough to defend.
Drinking beers, pimpin' h*'s, and kicking your boss in the stomach were one thing. But there were other instances where even the most avid wrestling fans were left scratching their heads saying: "that may have been too much."
Off the top of our heads, May Young getting impregnated by Mark Henry and then proceeding to give birth to a hand probably wasn't the best thing to present on network television. We could say the same thing for the time when Vince McMahon made Trish Stratus crawl around on the ground and bark like a dog (granted, if you followed the storyline through, McMahon ended up on the receiving end). Last but not least, the Big Show/Big Boss Man coffin surfing angle remains one of the most awkward and perhaps awful moments in WWE history.
6 High: WrestleMania is Like Christmas
Remember that feeling you'd get as a kid when it was the weeks leading up to Christmas, and you'd start to get antsy and wonder what was under that tree? The 25th would roll around and those presents would finally get unwrapped after all the anticipation. It was kind of a "line in the sand" moment because if the presents sucked, you'd be bummed for the rest of your holidays. If the presents rocked, you'd be all set for a while and be satisfied that all the built up anticipation was worthwhile.
It's a similar deal for WrestleMania for a wrestling fan. Sometimes the WWE writers will even begin constructing a WrestleMania main event as far as a year away from the actual event itself. This was the case for the "Once in a Lifetime" match between The Rock and John Cena as it was announced a full year in advance to ensure the proper build up (even though they repeated the match a year later).
WrestleMania is a benchmark that can make or break a wrestler. It's an event where the card is constantly stacked and us fans simply get giddy over it.
5 Low: Stupid Ideas (Brand Extension)
Back in 2002, WWE presented its first ever Brand Extension. This basically meant that Raw and SmackDown would be two separate shows.
One of the main reasons that the extension did not pan out is due to the fact that WWE had two champions. Wrestlers and fans alike have always billed the champion as "the guy." When there are two champions, there really is no "guy" because it's disputed and this does not only apply to wrestling. Take boxing for instance; fans simply have no idea who the current champion is because it's disputed. Nobody really knows who the best is because the IBO, WBC, and IBF are all separate entities, whereas once upon a time, there was one champion.
The Brand Extension already flopped once, so: "fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you?"
No, this is more like George Bush's: "fool me once, shame on...shame on you?" WWE is hell bent on executing the same bad idea that failed 14 years ago.
4 High: Relationship With the Characters
As mentioned above, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were the two biggest stars of the modern era. But why were they so over with the crowd?
Simply put, Austin and The Rock connected with the audience. They were successful because they depicted characters that the audience wanted to be like in their everyday lives. The fans got to live vicariously through their gimmicks. In Austin's case, everybody would just love to be a badass that answers to no one. Everybody would also love to be able to flip off their boss and give them a Stunner, and then crush some celebratory beers!
The Rock's gimmick was successful in a different way, as he was similar to the cool kid in high school that had the gift of gab and would lay the smack down at the drop of a hat. Let's face it, very few of us wrestling fans were part of the cool crowd in school.
3 Low: Stigma
Dealing with the negative stigma that comes with being a wrestling fan is a real pain in the behind. As we've already mentioned, the "you do know, it's fake" comment is par for the course at this point. But there's another annoying comment that tend to fly under the radar.
Folks who dislike wrestling will often argue that there's no difference between a good wrestler and a bad wrestler because the result is pre-determined. That notion is incorrect on so many levels. A good wrestler displays a vast variety of moves. He/she also needs to know when is the best time to use them based on the pace of the match. A good wrestler also knows how to work the crowd and get them invested in the story that they're telling in the ring. A good wrestler also must possess the ability to sell his/her opponents moves, in order to give the illusion that they're actually hurt (sometimes there's no need to pretend).
With the emergence of MMA, certain pundits have demeaned pro wrestling because "MMA is real." This is true, but they're two totally different concepts. One is sports entertainment and one is fighting. Even fighters such as Brock Lesnar (he would know, he does both), Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir have acknowledged that in many ways, pro wrestling is more of a grind on the body than MMA.
2 High: Therapeutic
We've saved lots of money on professional shrinks due to the therapy that wrestling gives us.
Wrestling is that constant safety net that is always there to reassure us regardless of what life throws our way. As we get older, life tends to throw more curveballs and there's a realization that life in general can be very harsh.
For three hours on Monday and two hours on Thursday (soon to be Tuesday), our brains get a reprieve from all this nastiness. There are many occasions where we'll turn on the television and just be in a terrible mood, but as the show goes on, that mood shifts because our minds are distracted. Oftentimes, that rebellious behaviour of the characters is cathartic in a sense that we can relate to what they're doing and we can relate it to daily crap we're dealing with on the norm.
1 Low: Wrestlers Dying Young
It's tough to see the heroes that we watch week after week pass away way far too young. Of course, death (along with taxes and getting ripped off by a lawyer) is a guarantee of life, but it's very unsettling as to how many of these deaths are attributed to cocktails of pain killers, alcohol, and drugs.
Just to rattle off some names of wrestlers that have died in the past five years: Chyna (45), Balls Mahoney (44), Roddy Piper (61), Dusty Rhodes (69), Sean O'Haire (43), Ultimate Warrior (54), Big Daddy V (42), Doink the Clown (57), and Macho Man Randy Savage (58).
This is just the tip of the iceberg as these are relatively recent deaths of wrestlers that died way too early. One death that shook up the wrestling world was that of Eddie Guerrero. People took this one hard because he was so well liked and he was supposed to be a success story as Guerrero had kicked his drug and alcohol addictions, but his heart gave way because the damage had already been done.
But wrestling is fake, right?
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