Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic

Tolerance. Agree to disagree. It takes all kinds to make the world go around. Freedom of choice. Whatever terms you use to express it, the idea is that everybody is different. We each prefer different flavors, varieties, sizes, colors and concepts. The only problem is when people forget we all have a right to our own opinions, and begin to believe that theirs’ is the only “correct” opinion, which is of course an oxymoron.

TODAY’S ISSUE: Tolerance is the key.

I recently wrote a review of the very first ppv presented by Internet-darling independent federation Ring of Honor. I was startled by the amount of feedback my review generated, especially considering it was not unfavorable. In fact, I mentioned several positives, and even closed by saying I’d be willing to purchase future $10 shows from RoH.

But some RoHbots were astonished, chagrined, and insulted that a life-long pro wrestling fan who has written a weekly column for two-and-a-half years would dare to not love every single moment of his first RoH show, and worse, would have the gall to recommend a few suggestions that might make some folks respond a bit better to the product.

A fan named “JinFamous” reposted my column in its entirety at an RoH fan board, and it generated four pages of discussion. I’m flattered to have caused so much communication among wrestling fans, but some of their comments were way too intolerant, causing them to come off as fanatical rather than dissenting and intelligent.

I have no problem with RoH fans disagreeing with my assessment of the show, or accusing me of not knowing the product as well as they do (nobody could, believe me – these cats LIVE for RoH). But that was the point of my review in the first place. I know pro wrestling, have heard nothing but positive remarks about RoH for quite some time, and wanted to see for myself and write an organic column about my opinions.

It surprised me and made little sense when these fanboys bashed me for not being smart enough to understand the product, only liking WWE’s main-event heavyweight style, and questioning my credibility as a FAN. First of all, you don’t need credibility to be a fan. If you like something, that’s that – you’re a fan. If you’re a fan who’s very familiar with the product in question, you’re in an ideal position to proclaim that one edition or version of it didn’t thrill you like others have, or that you would have enjoyed it more if only it were a little different. The next time you and your buddies go to a movie, I defy you to have a post-film discussion without somebody suggesting an idea the director should have tried but didn’t, or a plot twist they hoped for throughout the movie that never happened. I’m certain people who are not in the movie industry or aren’t professional film critics do this night after night, all over the country.

As for my not being smart enough to understand RoH, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if you objectively read any of the 125 columns I’ve written since I started, “not smart enough to understand” should be the last thought that comes to your mind. I back up my opinions with examples and facts. I very rarely show any bias toward a performer, company, match type, or concept. I check my data, avoid spelling and grammar errors, and write well above a ninth-grade level. My columns flow well, and stay on point regarding the stated topic. It’s clear that I have a modicum of intelligence and writing skill. It’s also clear that I’m a wrestling fan, and only want to see the industry thrive.

I may not be Dave Meltzer or Scott Keith, but I have a fairly decent understanding of pro wrestling considering it’s a favorite hobby of mine that I watch, read and write about, and practically study all year long. But to the mindless sheep who adore all things RoH, I came across like a blithering idiot, a mark to be dragged about by Vince McMahon, who accepts his vision of sports entertainment as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

McMahon’s main event style is in fact my least favorite format of mainstream pro wrestling there is. Give me a good cruiserweight match, “heavyweights” like the Hardys, Punk, Morrison, Burke, Edge, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Regal and Finlay who give effort each time in the ring and draw the crowd into the story of their matches, or TNA’s X Division any day of the week. Kurt Angle’s an ideal heavyweight, because he possesses uncanny skill, speed, strength, flexibility and endurance, and he knows how to take the crowd on a ride via match psychology.

The frenzied ROH-love I saw on this board is representative of what terrifies me about American society. Some people are so threatened by anything that differs from their own thoughts, beliefs and attitude that they instinctively lash out against it as wrong or bad. For example, why do so many of my countrymen proclaim the USA is the greatest nation in the world, even while there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary? Because it’s THEIR country, by God! That’s xenophobia at it’s worst, discounting the merits of another people (states, regions, et cetera) simply because it’s not your home base. This isn’t college spirit we’re talking about, where the Longhorns instinctively despise the Aggies (or whomever). This is a very dangerous, small-minded, hateful stance that could never lead to anything but war, closed borders, fear, and hate across the world.

I realize we’re only talking about RoH fans not liking my thumbs-in-the-middle review of a wrestling show, but the nature of some comments was what concerned me. As I said above, I appreciate the fact that some will disagree with my opinion – it’s MY opinion. But present your argument like an adult and move on. Don’t discount me simply because I’m not you, or exactly like you.

I’ll admit that not all the feedback I received on this board was negative. Many of the more levelheaded Ring of Honor fans were able to appreciate that as a fan, I had just taken my first look at the company and posted honest, intelligent feedback. Hell, many of these folks agreed with my “negative” comments and admitted that their favorite wrestling promotion is not without faults. Nothing is.

If the RoHbots believe all fans that don’t scour the Internet for content and collect Ring of Honor DVDs are missing the boat, then we’re missing the boat. Case closed. If they think those who don’t travel the country (no, we don’t ALL reside on the East Coast) to see small indy shows in small arenas are not “true” wrestling fans, whatever that means, then fine, I’m not a true wrestling fan. Even though I watch six hours of original wrestling programming each week without missing a second of the action, I’ve read many wrestling books, I visit the Internet daily for news and updates, and write this very weekly column, I’m not a true wrestling fan. People who know me can’t imagine how I could possibly be more of a pro wrestling fan!

If those hardest of the hardcore, lunatic fringe RoH disciples think I’m a mark, drinking deeply from the cup of McMahon, so be it. But let that be the end of it. Agree to disagree. Press on with your indy fed love fest, and get over yourselves. I guess none of you liked pro wrestling until about five years ago, right? Because your beloved brand didn’t exist before then. Did you watch WCCW, AWA, NWA, WCW, ECW, or the old WWF back in the day, or were you too young? Trust me, there have been many phenomenal wrestling companies before RoH emerged from the tiny arenas of South Philly, and there will likely be another ready to take their rightful place the next time a company closes its doors for good.

Go ahead and love Ring of Honor. Follow it like a super-fan. Adore it, tell all your friends about it, post on fan boards, and travel up and down the eastern seaboard to watch every show live. Pound on the guardrails in time to the ring entrance music, and watch in awe at every move made by Danielson, the Briscoes, KENTA, McGuiness and the others. I’m very happy for you that you’ve found the wrestling company that perfectly suits your needs. All I ask is that you respect the opinions of others who don’t fawn all over RoH as you do. Don’t let it bother you. Be tolerant of other people and their opinions. Oh, and have a nice day.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” – Jim Morrison

Before you go, check out our Rasslin’ Roundtable for WWE’s Great American Bash, compare our picks to PK’s live coverage, and look below to see how we fared.

IP Staff Roundtable Results for The Great American Bash

Andrew Wheeler Roundtable Champion! (TIE)
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 7-1
Total: 82-49

Mark Allen
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 5-3
Total: 21-10

Kurtis R. Osterlund
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 5-3
Not an Inside Pulse staff writer.

Danny Cox
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 5-3
Total: 72-65

Charles Joseph
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 5-1
Not an Inside Pulse staff writer.

Vinny Truncellito
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 4-4
Total: 126-76

Matthew Michaels
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 3-5
Total: 62-58

Paul Beasley
WWE Great American Bash (22 Jul 07): 2-5
Total: 8-6

Tags: , ,