To Be Determined – Feeding The Troll

In recent weeks we have seen a certain WWE wrestler go on an attention grabbing campaign on Twitter and YouTube. Since this campaign is intended purely to keep this wrestler in the spotlight, I will not feed the troll and not mention his name here, but I trust that the readers of Pulse Wrestling are smart enough to know who I’m talking about.

This wrestler used to be one of my favorites. In 2002, after the first breakup of the successful team he and his brother had, he re-invented himself as a heel and received a nice push. I actually believed back then that this new character could catapult him to the main event, but sadly it only lead to a cruiserweight title reign. Then came the infamous love triangle where he was screwed over not only by his girlfriend and one of his best friends, but also by the company, which fired him even though he was the victim in said triangle. I believe that this was the breaking point. That was the first time that he launched an on-line campaign for himself, and back then, since he was the victim, it actually succeeded and probably influenced WWE’s decision to re-sign him. But even then there were some disturbing signs. His cryptic messages, his full blown rants against the company and his former friends, which may have been justified but also signaled that he’s too impulsive and can’t be trusted to do the right thing for the company, the way he kept mixing real life with storylines – those were all disturbing signs that were ignored.

Over the years, he continued to use the internet to send cryptic messages about himself and his brother. Sure, it was fun to follow sometimes but recently it seems like he has gone off the deep end. Sending several messages every day, each message seems more bizarre than the former one. Taunting various IWC reporters after they wrote allegedly false reports about him. Uploading weird videos to YouTube. Seems like we can’t escape this guy. But the question is do we really want to? It appears as if we, the IWC and our readers, are a big part of this problem. We hang on his every word. We retweet his every tweet. We embed his every video. We’re feeding the troll and he is only getting bigger in the process.

I see three options regarding the real story behind this online campaign, and whatever the story is, I think we should let it go.

The first option is that this is all a masterplan by WWE to generate some real buzz en route to a renewed push and storyline for him. If that’s the case, then why should we take part in this kayfabe story?

The second option is that this is a calculated plan by him to push WWE into firing him, so he’ll be free to join his brother and friends in Orlando. If that’s the case, again I don’t see any point in us helping him achieve his goal. If he succeeds, it will be a news story worth covering but right now we are being used as pawns and do his work for him.

The third option, and the truly worrying one, is that we are watching someone in the middle of a serious breakdown, and we do nothing except cheer him on. There are plenty of reasons for him to go downhill. For most of his career he tried to do the right thing. He kept himself healthy, he developed a new, successful character, he stayed off drugs and where did it get him? Nowhere. While he remained stuck in his place, his brother jumped from company to company, did every illegal drug he could get his hand on, got into troubles with the law on several occasions yet remained one of the most popular wrestlers in North America and was rewarded with a main event push. When his girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend, he was the one to get fired. New wrestler arrived in the company and were pushed to the moon while he went nowhere, despite some of them being less talented or popular than him (Yes, throughout everything he remained popular with the crowd). Granted, in the past year he let himself go and became almost as fat as I am, which couldn’t have helped his case. There are conflicting reports about the reason for that. Some say it’s a medical condition and some say that he simply stopped caring. If it’s the former, nothing can be done about it. If it’s the latter, than it might indicate that perhaps he’s not the professional we thought he is.

But other than his responsibility for himself, there’s also the issue of our responsibility. I know that it’s hard to look away, but in this case we must. If we’re being worked, then we shouldn’t play along. If it’s real, we’re only making things worse for him. It’s like a traffic incident – you can’t stop but looking even if you don’t want to. I’ve seen many news posts with comments that read “I so don’t care about him, stop giving publicity to his every move”. But it’s clear that those who commented actually did care enough to read and respond, even if they did not want to. This also means that stories about him probably drive traffic to this site and others, as it’s not only here. I write on an Israeli message board and the posts about him are met with the exact same response. But we have to be stronger even if he is not. Personally, I don’t follow him on Twitter or watch any of the multiple videos he posts on YouTube. Every time we write about him it fuels him, it drives him to do more and think that there’s nothing wrong with him. If what we’re seeing here is real, than he needs professional help, and he will not seek it as long as we keep feeding his need for attention, which is basically his problem. If something bad happens, do we want to say that we looked on and were part of the problem, or that we at least tried to help, even if by help we actually look away and push him to get help?

I realize that I may be a bit overdramatic and perhaps there really is nothing wrong with him. At the end of the day, I fell into the same trap as others since I dedicated this column to him rather than write about something else (I had a whole different column idea that will wait for next time). But for the off chance that this is real, we should all show more responsibility.

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