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November 2021 Wrestling Discussion


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You have to ask yourself, why does nobody respond "don't you know that shit is fake?"  when you say, for instance, "I like kung fu movies."

Unlike movies, wrestling's lifeblood at one point was fooling people into thinking it was real.  And then wrestling kept kayfabe long past the point where doing so made sense.  Somewhere, sometime, someone should have worked to reposition wrestling in popular culture.  Don't ask me how.  It just should have been done.

Because of promoters clinging to kayfabe far past its usefulness, there's a lingering impression among non-fans that people who like wrestling are stupid and/or trashy.  That may change in a generation or two, unless Covid kills us all off first, but for now I'd rather not admit to my coworkers that I enjoy the fake fighting.

What really gets me is that reality TV should get worse disdain then wrestling gets.  I feel like more people are fooled by reality TV than wrestling.

Edited by Technico Support
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All my college friends absolutely knew I liked wrestling (but as someone else mentioned, that was the late 90s, when its popularity spiked).  I wouldn't tell any of my co-workers about it.

I did mention it in my online dating profile the last time I had one up, with the rationale that anyone who was in a relationship with me was gonna find out about it eventually, and having more interests/hobbies is more interesting than having fewer.

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I've always been pretty open with my love of pro wres throughout my school life into adulthood, and it's never been a detriment. I also have a group of friends that I enjoy watching and going to events to and have a group chat we talk wrestling on currently. Never really had to deal with the "its fake" stuff 😁😁

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52 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

Unlike movies, wrestling's lifeblood at one point was fooling people into thinking it was real.  And then wrestling kept kayfabe long past the point where doing so made sense.  Somewhere, sometime, someone should have worked to reposition wrestling in popular culture.  Don't ask me how.  It just should have been done.

I dispute this. I don't believe that anyone actually believed that pro wrestling was real (I'm not taking about carnival wrestling, I'm taking modern television pro wrestling). I believe that people wanted to watch it as if it was real and disliked it when the performers didn't behave like it was real. People want to buy in, but I don't think people were legitimately fooled by pro wrestling. This is one of the biggest problems with modern pro wrestling,  they stopped treating it as legitimate so no one ever really buys in. 

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12 minutes ago, supremebve said:

I dispute this. I don't believe that anyone actually believed that pro wrestling was real (I'm not taking about carnival wrestling, I'm taking modern television pro wrestling). I believe that people wanted to watch it as if it was real and disliked it when the performers didn't behave like it was real. People want to buy in, but I don't think people were legitimately fooled by pro wrestling. This is one of the biggest problems with modern pro wrestling,  they stopped treating it as legitimate so no one ever really buys in. 

I think we're talking about two different things here, maybe two sides of the same coin.  Wrestling is just a weird thing, man.  I've used this example before, but when Joe Anoa'i goes on the Tonight Show, he goes on it as Roman Reigns.  Not as "Joe Anoa'i, who portrays Roman Reigns on WWE TV."  When Hogan or Warrior did talk shows in the 80s, they did it in character.  That shit was so cringe and corny, and I can imagine people who weren't into wrestling watching it and saying, "what this fuck is this bullshit?"  That's what I mean by maintaining kayfabe long past its sell by date.  You don't see Bryan Cranston on Kimmel staying in character as Walter White and cutting promos on Gus Fring. 

Wrestling, at some point, needed to fully and completely acknowledge what it was. 

People absolutely want to suspend disbelief in all forms of entertainment.  Shit, I'm not watching Avengers and thinking about how it's not real.  But only wrestling goes out in non-wrestling circles and insults everyone's intelligence, making non-fans think it must be the dumbest shit ever, only fit for children, lower-class people, and the mentally infirm.  That's my point and I'm sorry if it wasn't clear enough initially. 

Edited by Technico Support
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Wrestling exists in that weird in between area. It's not legitimate sports. It's not a fully scripted TV show. it's not reality tv. Whoever, long ago, compared WWE Raw to the Muppet Show, was 100% spot on. I have been trying to come up with a better comparison, but none exists.

do fandoms of any other kind follow/argue ratings points? I can't imagine a fan of, say, Brooklyn Nine-Nine watching an episode on Tuesday night, then waiting for the ratings to show up on Wednesday, and saying "i knew that featuring Charles Boyle as the main character would tank the ratings. He's just not a draw." [forgive me if this comparison doesn't make sense, i've never seen the show] or an LA Lakers fan seeing which game had higher viewership.  it's such a minute detail that only effects the show in exceedingly behind the scenes ways (licensing rights, tv slots, etc.)

Streaming questions: does Peacock offer a comprehensive history of WWE Raw? like, is every episode up on there? Do other streaming services like NFL Network offer every NFL game of the last 20 years? Does the NBA offer anything of that sort? MLB? NHL? MLS?

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On 11/28/2021 at 9:47 PM, Ryan said:

This sounds like some variation on that one Andy Samberg film where he's a daredevil.

Looking back at this it honestly is like a Seinfeld episode.  The kids dad had trophy's on the starwell from when he himself was a highschool wrestler and weightlifter.  It was an odd set up. You walk in the door and boom you see them right in front of you as you walk into the house.

 

The dad was also notorious for going to the JR high and High school events and when his son was in a match he would go right down to the mat and literally scream his lungs out like a corner man.  It had to be the most embarrassing thing ever but it never stopped. I half expected him to throw in the towel at times but he never did.  

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10 minutes ago, twiztor said:

Streaming questions: does Peacock offer a comprehensive history of WWE Raw? like, is every episode up on there? Do other streaming services like NFL Network offer every NFL game of the last 20 years? Does the NBA offer anything of that sort? MLB? NHL? MLS?

Depends on how you feel about season 17 of Raw. Would be more like having every episode of Guiding Light streaming anyway.

Edited by Matt D
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3 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

I think we're talking about two different things here, maybe two sides of the same coin.  Wrestling is just a weird thing, man.  I've used this example before, but when Joe Anoa'i goes on the Tonight Show, he goes on it as Roman Reigns.  Not as "Joe Anoa'i, who portrays Roman Reigns on WWE TV."  When Hogan or Warrior did talk shows in the 80s, they did it in character.  That shit was so cringe and corny, and I can imagine people who weren't into wrestling watching it and saying, "what this fuck is this bullshit?"

Wrestling, at some point, needed to fully and completely acknowledge what it was. 

Ok,  we're actually pretty close,  but here is where we differ. Wrestlers don't have to go on the Tonight Show and cut promos like they're on Raw, but the difference is that Roman Reigns is on the Tonight Show,  not Joe Anoa'i. Nobody gives a fuck about Joe Anoa'i, he wouldn't be invited on the Tonight Show as Joe Anoa'i. He's only there because he's Roman Reigns and he's there as Roman Reigns. Bryan Cranston is on the Tonight Show as Bryan Cranston,  not Walter White. 

The problem we have is that  wrestling didn't have to acknowledge fully and completely what it was,  because we already knew. The issue is that they don't understand that we knew, and thought they had to acknowledge it. If Roman Reigns goes on the Tonight Show and does a great humanizing interview,  but treats everything about his wrestling character as if it's 100% serious, it would be great. The problem is they go on the Tonight Show and treat the character they are playing on the show as if it's not serious. How does the audience buy into characters that the characters themselves haven't night into? We all know it's fake. We've always known it was fake. We don't want it treated as if it is fake. The characters they play are the only reason we know them. Their entire public persona is that character. Unless they are The Rock or John Cena who leave wrestling to go onto play other characters, we don't care about them as anyone but those characters. 

It may be cringey for Him Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage to be in full character in the Tonight Show,  but Terry Bolea and Randy Poffo aren't on the show. Wrestling is a work and only works because it's a work. There is a way to protect the business without insulting the audiences intelligence. The problem is that we went from full kayfabe to zero kayfabe like its some sort of light switch. Kayfabe needs to be a dimmer where these people can go out the show,  be a human being,  but not forget that as far as the world knows they are their character. 

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15 minutes ago, supremebve said:

If Roman Reigns goes on the Tonight Show and does a great humanizing interview,  but treats everything about his wrestling character as if it's 100% serious, it would be great.

Can you give an example of what you mean by "treats everything about his wrestling character as if it's 100% serious?"  Because that sounds ridiculous without a lot of qualifiers. 

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1 minute ago, Technico Support said:

Can you give an example of what you mean by "treats everything about his wrestling character as if it's 100% serious?"  Because that sounds ridiculous without a lot of qualifiers. 

Basically what I'm saying is he can talk about his life,  his kids,  his night with cancer or whatever else outside of the show as Joe Anoa'i, but if he's asked about anything on the show Roman Reigns treats it as if it is as real as what's going on in Joe Anoa'i's life. If they ask him about who he's feuding with,  he hates that guy and wants to kick his ass. If they ask him what it means to be champion, it's his greatest accomplishment. If they ask him anything about wrestling,  he's the best in the world and will defeat anyone they put in his way. The tone doesn't have to be like he's cutting a promo,  but it needs to come across like the person on the Tonight Show cares as much as the guy on the weekly wrestling show. 

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2 hours ago, Spontaneous said:

Most people think wrestling is WWE and trashy. I'd rather not have people think less of me. My own family typically thinks what I watch is stupid. In my experiences it is NOT something to advertise. 

My one concession to wrestling shame is that I have a little spiel about how I don't really watch current wrestling outside of AEW and mostly watch older or Japanese stuff.  Which I guess is supposed to signal that I am some kind of discriminating aesthete and not one of the great unwashed but I'm pretty sure just ups my weirdo quotient.

I did minorly impress my European in-laws when the subject of wrestling came up by talking about French catch so I guess thanks to Matt D for that one.

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11 hours ago, Technico Support said:

I think we're talking about two different things here, maybe two sides of the same coin.  Wrestling is just a weird thing, man.  I've used this example before, but when Joe Anoa'i goes on the Tonight Show, he goes on it as Roman Reigns.  Not as "Joe Anoa'i, who portrays Roman Reigns on WWE TV."  When Hogan or Warrior did talk shows in the 80s, they did it in character.  That shit was so cringe and corny, and I can imagine people who weren't into wrestling watching it and saying, "what this fuck is this bullshit?"  That's what I mean by maintaining kayfabe long past its sell by date.  You don't see Bryan Cranston on Kimmel staying in character as Walter White and cutting promos on Gus Fring. 

Wrestling, at some point, needed to fully and completely acknowledge what it was. 

People absolutely want to suspend disbelief in all forms of entertainment.  Shit, I'm not watching Avengers and thinking about how it's not real.  But only wrestling goes out in non-wrestling circles and insults everyone's intelligence, making non-fans think it must be the dumbest shit ever, only fit for children, lower-class people, and the mentally infirm.  That's my point and I'm sorry if it wasn't clear enough initially. 

I don't watch talk shows often anymore but back in the day you had people like Laurence Tureaud, Paul Reubens, Cassandra Peterson, and Jim Varney appearing on talk shows in character, so Terry Bollea in full Hulkster mode yucking it up with Joan Rivers & Dr. Ruth didn't seem out of place. Alf was treated as an actual living sentient being and not a puppet with Paul Fusco's hand up its ass on talk shows!

 

 

Edited by Mister TV
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33 minutes ago, Mister TV said:

I don't watch talk shows often anymore but back in the day you had people like Laurence Tureaud, Paul Reubens, Cassandra Peterson, and Jim Varney appeared on talk shows in character, so Terry Bollea in full Hulkster mode yucking it up with Joan Rivers & Dr. Ruth didn't seem out of place. Alf was treated as an actual living sentient being and not a puppet with Paul Fusco's hand up its ass on talk shows!

 

 

The 80s were a magical time... and by magic I mean cocaine.

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3 hours ago, S.K.o.S. said:

I did mention it in my online dating profile the last time I had one up, with the rationale that anyone who was in a relationship with me was gonna find out about it eventually, and having more interests/hobbies is more interesting than having fewer.

I took this approach and mentioned it along with my lego building, action figure collecting, miniature painting, obscure metal band listening, classic literature reading and rpg gaming hobbies and surprisingly there were no bites. My friend's say I need a geeky girl, well I am yet to meet such a delightful idea of a creature. But yeah, not mentioning these things leads to less than ideal results too.

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30 minutes ago, supremebve said:

The 80s were a magical time... and by magic I mean cocaine.

My wife and I watch a lot of late 70s-early 80s game shows on Buzzr and it's genuinely shocking the number of contestants who are clearly zooted and just grinding their teeth through the whole episode.

Some of them are pretty fucking good at Password, though, so who am I to judge?

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1 hour ago, Zimbra said:

My one concession to wrestling shame is that I have a little spiel about how I don't really watch current wrestling outside of AEW and mostly watch older or Japanese stuff.  Which I guess is supposed to signal that I am some kind of discriminating aesthete and not one of the great unwashed but I'm pretty sure just ups my weirdo quotient.

100%. If someone is inclined to bust balls over another person enjoying wrestling, they're not likely to be deterred in their judgements by a defensive line of thought that essentially goes "Oh no, you don't understand. When it comes to that crass nonsense you think is only fit for children, rubes, and dullards, I only enjoy the good stuff!"

Some people are weird about wrestling. Everyone should enjoy what they like in peace, be as open or withholding about their entertainment preferences as they feel comfortable, and realize that everyone's entertainment preferences are just as susceptible to mocking if people are inclined to be that way. It is what it is.

Edited by John from Cincinnati
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Just now, Zimbra said:

My wife and I watch a lot of late 70s-early 80s game shows on Buzzr and it's genuinely shocking the number of contestants who are clearly zooted and just grinding their teeth through the whole episode.

Some of them are pretty fucking good at Password, though, so who am I to judge?

There is a period between about 1975 and 1990 where about 50% of all television shows should have cocaine listed as the executive producer. 

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3 hours ago, twiztor said:

do fandoms of any other kind follow/argue ratings points? I can't imagine a fan of, say, Brooklyn Nine-Nine watching an episode on Tuesday night, then waiting for the ratings to show up on Wednesday, and saying "i knew that featuring Charles Boyle as the main character would tank the ratings. He's just not a draw." [forgive me if this comparison doesn't make sense, i've never seen the show] or an LA Lakers fan seeing which game had higher viewership.  it's such a minute detail that only effects the show in exceedingly behind the scenes ways (licensing rights, tv slots, etc.)

I remember years ago reading about how soap operas had levels of fandom similar to this and it was laid out in those mini magazines you'd see by the grocery store registers.  I had time to kill so I flipped through and it was like reading their version of Wrestling Observer.  I was surprised yet not at all surprised at the same time.  Guess that's why it's referred to as a male soap opera.  Now if soap operas don't count then hell if I know.  I can think of various movie franchises that might have that kind of argument (Star Wars immediately comes to mind) but it's harder with TV shows.

As for real people on talk shows I don't often check them out but the times I do they seems fine to me.  They're presented as real people and they may talk about funny shit in the ring or something.  Then they'll hype the upcoming show and that's it.

Edited by NikoBaltimore
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11 minutes ago, NikoBaltimore said:

 I can think of various movie franchises that might have that kind of argument (Star Wars immediately comes to mind) but it's harder with TV shows.

Too soon to put that Alden kid at the top of the card. Somebody call Harrison, he'll put butts in seats. 

Edited by John from Cincinnati
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1 hour ago, John from Cincinnati said:

Some people are weird about wrestling. Everyone should enjoy what they like in peace, be as open or withholding about their entertainment preferences as they feel comfortable, and realize that everyone's entertainment preferences are just as susceptible to mocking if people are inclined to be that way. It is what it is.

I 100% agree with one small caveat.  This is all fine unless this manifests itself as Cody Rhodes fandom.  Then, it's not healthy.

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4 hours ago, twiztor said:

do fandoms of any other kind follow/argue ratings points? I can't imagine a fan of, say, Brooklyn Nine-Nine watching an episode on Tuesday night, then waiting for the ratings to show up on Wednesday, and saying "i knew that featuring Charles Boyle as the main character would tank the ratings. He's just not a draw." [forgive me if this comparison doesn't make sense, i've never seen the show] or an LA Lakers fan seeing which game had higher viewership.  it's such a minute detail that only effects the show in exceedingly behind the scenes ways (licensing rights, tv slots, etc.)

 

This is a super interesting take. TV ratings/box office numbers are interesting to follow and, certainly, a movie star that has a string of box office failures sees their career take a downward turn. In regards to TV, a low-rated show is likely to be cancelled and low-rated but critically adored shows having fans and critics campaign for it to stay alive has been a thing forever. Looking at the popularity of a TV show has long been a part of fandom. It's not necessarily a comment on quality but a show like Seinfeld and Friends were big deals because EVERYONE watched them. They were wildly, wildly popular. If Seinfeld's rating had continued to plummet year after year and creatively the show was seen as having gone downhill, it would have been a huge talking point.

Shows that make creatively bad choices and lose ratings or hang around long past their expiration date and run off fans or alienate fans in some way generate a lot of talking points, especially when there's long-time fans. Look at the Star Wars franchises, which have had the last few movies underperform or look at Doctor Who who has seen ratings dip to series low as fans grumble about the direction of the show. So, no, it's not simply a weird wrestling quirk at all.

As far as "real" sports, it's not fans checking ratings breathlessly it's the fact that stars who get high ratings get featured spots. There's a reason the Lakers are on TV more than the Utah Jazz.  Sports ratings are regularly blasted across by journalists all the time and it does say something about the popularity of teams/athletes. 

In regards to wrestling though, this idea that ratings/crowd attendance/business metrics don't matter is asinine. If Big E was scoring record high ratings and packing in 10,000 people every week he'd be assured of a long-run, big time matches and his fans would be happy for him and we'd see him as a big success. As it is, he's a failing champion who's gonna lose the belt and drop back down to the mid-card eventually. If you're a Hangman fan and Dynamites ratings drop 30 percent in the next month, he won't be staying champion much longer after that. Wrestling stardom, like boxing and now MMA, is inextricably tied to how popular someone is and, therefore, how much business they draw. It's been that way since they were all invented. I mean, it would be like if we compare Diesel and Stone Cold as WWF champion. You are more than welcome to say that you preferred Diesel's run because he had a good feud with Shawn and the Bret match was great but Diesel was the lowest drawing WWF champion at the time in history. It mattered. One guy is remembered as the biggest star in the business and the other is seen as a failed experiment. To watch wrestling and be completely indifferent to how business metrics influence everything we see onscreen is missing a huge part of the picture. 

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I do think fans of the MCU or the DCU look at box office. I do wonder, do a degree, if this board is so interested in box office numbers because of that wrestling connection, but then it's not like Box Office Mojo isn't a thing. I know a group of fans of a show like.... Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist were watching ratings closely, but that was primarily because they didn't want the show to get cancelled. Likewise, people were following the Dune box office because they wanted the sequel to get greenlighted. People are always sort of interested how awards shows do from year to year.

I will say we get sort of silly about it sometimes. When I was first trying to explain things to my wife about my wrestling fandom, it was one year right around WON HOF time and I was sort of trying to explain how we were looking at Ken Patera's drawing ability in 1979 or something and she thought it was amazingly stupid.

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