Interinactivity: 11.25.2011 – Mismanaging Expectations

Miss me? Well, I miss our old layout, so you can’t win them all. Sorry for the lack of “Interinactivity” columns lately. Between the new layout and the fact that someone has been disabling the ability to put comments on any of my articles a few hours before the article is published (I say “someone” figuratively, as I’ve already been told who it is, but I like being the bigger person, plus you can probably guess who it is anyway) it’s been hard to get motivated to write lately.

Those “Blair’s Hart Family Legacy” articles are some pieces I had written a few years ago for another site. I pretty much knew they wouldn’t get the same response, although I’m guessing a bit of that is, again, that comments are being taken out of the equation until I have the opportunity to log back in and fix it.

We’re going with a bit of a different format today.

 

Managing Expectations, Nintendo, And Your Problem With Wrestling
by K. Sawyer Paul 

Before anyone starts in on me, I wrote “Good article, some very well thought out stuff.” on this article. In case anyone didn’t realize it, that was sarcasm. In retrospect, I could have tried harder to make that obvious. In my defence, my head was swimming after reading it.

 

There’s a canyon of difference between “wrestling sucks right now” and “I don’t like wrestling right now.” It’s a sort of mature difference, because saying the first one instead of the second means you look only at the product. That’s fine; you can totally just look at the product, but doing so means you’re leaving a lot out. It means you’re not taking current market trends in mind, current economics, and future projections. It also means you’re not really looking at yourself, where you are in your life, and if wrestling is a thing you should really be watching right now.

I don’t know where to begin. Wait, yes I do. “A CANYON of difference”?

CANYON.

Canyon?!?!

Of course you have to look at the product. How is that even up for discussion? What else is there to look at? Current market trend?! Current economies?!?! What shoe did you scrape this off the bottom of? I guess you may have something with future projections, very loosely, but where you are in life and “whether you should be watching wrestling right now”, whatever that even means, makes no sense at all. It would be one thing if you were talking about a sport, that doesn’t really change from year to year. Or something that is targeted directly and only to children, that people naturally grow out of. But wrestling is not a sport, wrestling is entertainment, and it’s entertainment that they target at everyone, not a certain age group. So what you’re saying is basically like saying “Man, Big Bang Theory sucks right now. But, the economy is down 20%, and my enjoyment of the show is down about that much too, so the show is still awesome I guess.” or “Boy, Dancing With The Stars is just not holding my attention anymore. It must be because I graduated college and am therefore in a different stage of life. Maybe I shouldn’t be watching it anymore.”

You heard it here first, folks. Wrestling doesn’t suck right now. YOU suck right now. Wrestling is always as good or bad as it has ever been, ever. It never goes up or down. The only thing going up or down is YOU.

Wrestling is not as good as it used to be, which is why millions of people choose not to watch it, for the same reason they choose not to watch other television shows they don’t like. That’s all there is to it. You’ve taken the simplest issue wrestling has and turned it into something complicated when it couldn’t possibly be more simple. I can’t keep talking about this paragraph. It doesn’t say anything. It’s just a bunch of random words pushed together.

 

Wrestling is a fairly evergreen product with a mature audience and a well-defined market. 

Well, that’s just fucking absurd. Wrestling has one of the most immature audiences on the planet.

 

Professional Wrestling at its absolute worst is more entertaining than 90% of all of television, because it is not afraid to be silly and have fun and trip over its own logic and laugh at itself and do things no other medium can get away with.

Holy shit. That physically hurt to read. Everything you just said is a matter of opinion to the largest degree possible, and there’s no way in hell you’d get anyone who didn’t watch wrestling right now, even if they used to, to agree with that statement.

 

Raw isn’t a great venue for solid wrestling matches or simple story telling, but it’s has never been like that. Monday night Raw has never been that great at the things traditional wrestling fans want, and you’d think after 18 years people would get it through their head not to expect 20 minutes out of Beth Phoenix.

No one wants 20 minutes out of Beth Phoenix. No logical human being has ever said that. You’re inventing opinions that people don’t have and then attributing them to us. As for RAW not delivering a solid wrestling product, you’re right, if you only look at past few years. But before that, you had matches like TLC, Kurt and Benoit, Triple H and Rock, Rock and Undertaker, Trish and Lita in the only decent Diva match RAW has ever seen, cage matches, Michaels and Benjamin, Jericho and basically anyone, and… well, there’s a ton more. I don’t need to list them all. You know what I’m talking about. Well, maybe YOU don’t, K Sawyer, but you sound like a dumb guy who’s trying really hard to sound smart, but the rest of us get it. Good matches like those barely, if ever, happen anymore on RAW or any other show. Now you have to watch a PPV to get a decent match, and that’s only if you’re still really lucky. The match with Punk and Ziggler last week was the only good match anyone has seen on RAW in years.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be just good matches, that’s part of it, but the other thing is that 95% of the storylines have all been just awful. You can’t have a good wrestling show on JUST wrestling alone, anyway. No one watching a sci-fi show will say “well, this new sci-fi show has some awful stories, terrible dialogue and is badly written… but it has cool space battles, so I’ll keep watching anyway.” The OTHER thing is, if RAW has never been great at delivering what fans want, then why did they used to have twice the audience they have now? You’re really going to blame it all on outside influences? That’s WWE’s fault for not evolving their product into something more people want.

 

This is what WWE thinks will entertain most of the people most of the time, and that’s really totally good enough for them.

Yes. YES. This is the one thing you’ve said that makes sense. WWE is fine with where they are right now. They’re fine with having lost half their audience. I’m sure that’s going to come across as sarcastic, but that statement is legitimately dead-on. WWE is making money, and they’re playing it safe. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. People have been in denial about this for a couple of years now.

If that sentence had been the only thing you’d written in the article, you’d have managed to not come across like someone sleeping on the street in a tent trying to tell anyone with a camera how we should fix the economy.

 

I. Could. Make. A. Living. Bitching. About. Wrestling.

I wouldn’t if I were you. You know nothing of what you speak.

 

Did a light just go off in your head?

No.

 

Did something just kind of come together for you?

What? No.

 

A few years ago, when it became utterly apparent to me just how cynical and sad the 24 hour news cycle had become, I began to notice similar patterns in wrestling journalism. The sad pay walls. The up-to-the-minute disappointment and I-know-better tirades. The “if they don’t turn this around right now, the whole things going tits up” rants. The terrible web design built to hit you with pop ups and spam to take tenths of pennies, because these people would rather have tiny dividends off shitty ads than respect your time and attention. The copy and paste sites, the places that take a paragraph from the observer and call it an exclusive. The thieves. The whores. The hypocrites who kiss Eric Bischoff’s ass when he grants them an interview but calls him the devil the rest of the year. 

What the fuck is this bullshit supposed to be? I can’t claim to have seen every shitty wrestling website out there, but I haven’t seen that many sites out there that do any of the things you’re claiming they do. I certainly haven’t seen anyone on this site dumb enough to make the “it’s going tits up if they don’t turn it around!” argument. I suppose you could cite some examples of that on comment boards, but that’s obviously not something the site controls. Hell, Triple Glazed puts out some of the most mark-ish shit I’ve ever seen on an almost weekly basis (remember “Shaemus Fits The Mold For WWE Gold” aricle? Too bad the comments got erased off that one), but even he is way too smart to put something up that sounds like that. Even he is also too smart to put out something that sounds like THIS.

 

These people make a living making you unhappy about a thing you used to love. And you let them. For a long time, I let them. What’s worse, for a long time I let them dictate what I did and didn’t expect out of wrestling. And that tension made me hate it. When you let someone who is paid to hate something help form your opinion, you’re never going to be happy. This applies to a lot, and you can take that idea and let run over your entire online existence.

What the shit? What’s with the self-loathing? You ACTUALLY let websites dictate what you enjoy and don’t enjoy? That’s embarrassing, man. I’m embarrassed for you just having read that. Get some self-esteem.

 

When every wrestler who leaves the WWE says negative things in a shoot interview, when every old guy thinks wrestling was better in his era, when every 25 year old thinks wrestling was great when he was 16, and when we was nostalgic over an event we hated at the time, the problem isn’t wrestling. In these cases, wrestling doesn’t suck. The problem is that we don’t like wrestling anymore, and that’s not wrestlings fault. We have outgrown it, or our tastes have changed, or whatever, but wrestling is the same it’s ever been.

I’m one of the guys who will REALLY tell you that wrestling sucks right now. And I can’t speak for everyone with that perspective, but from my outlook, I still DO find things in wrestling that I enjoy. CM Punk for about 2 months this year, the buildup to ‘Mania is always somewhat to very strong, the Shawn / Undertaker stuff, and some TNA matches that happen to be or just are really good. And that’s just to name a few examples. It’s everything else that sucks, which is most of the shows. So, I guess I may look at it like this – if I just thought WRESTLING SUCKED because I got older, or “outgrew it”, then I don’t think I’d still casually watch it at all, let alone find the odd occasional thing that I enjoy. And I don’t think that if Shaemus or Mark Henry happened when I was a teenager or in the 18-21 demo, or whatever, that I’d think it was better just because I was younger or because it was a different era.

 

I’m going to go back to the Nintendo argument here: if you like Mario, someday you won’t like Mario. Someday, You’ll think Mario was better when you were a fan. Someday, you’ll see a new Nintendo console, and think that you’d never buy it because it isn’t as mind blowing as the SNES, or the N64, or whatever your console was when you were young, and you’ll completely forget that every single Nintendo console in history has been comparatively underpowered and initially unimpressive, especially the one you really loved once.

Right… except, Mario isn’t the equivalent to wrestling. Video games in general would be the equivalent to wrestling. Mario itself isn’t an industry. Video games in general are an industry, just like wrestling is. And video games now are more popular than they’ve ever been. You know why that is? Because video games have evolved and have all different types and systems that appeal to different segments of audiences. And that’s what wrestling hasn’t done.

 

I get sad when I look over at online groups for tv shows like community, and how that connection can turn a fan into an evangelist. And then I look over at the IWC, and see that connection turn a fan into a cynic. It’s a poisonous, contagious environment full of jackals and hokum-salesmen, the worst of journalism and sometimes the worst of the Internet. Wrestling is worse for their contribution. But despite them, wrestling will go on being wrestling. Fans will go on liking it and then then not liking it. Kids will cheer John Cena, and then grow up and look at the new version of that guy and not like him as much. Really old guys will look back and reminisce on how they liked it more when they thought it was real, as if being successfully duped is a form of praise. It’s amazing how memory works, how fandom works, and how deplorable we can get when we don’t get what we think we want.

Time has lost all meaning. Thank goodness this is almost over. Once again, you’ve taken a simple thing and tried to make it complicated.

Wrestling used to have a lot of people watching it.

Now it doesn’t have near as many.

That’s not an opinion.

That’s a fact.

That’s math.

And it’s not because people got older. Because it’s not like the whole population got older at once. There are always going to be kids, teenagers, young adults, older adults, middle-aged people, and seniors. And even if it WAS because people got older, that’s WWE’s fault for failing to evolve like the rest of media in general has. Have professional sports gotten less popular? No. Has reality TV gotten less popular? No. Have movies become less popular? No. And just in case it needs to be said, the fact that wrestling’s numbers have gone down the tubes while the rest of these examples haven’t, has absolutely NOTHING to do with current market trends or current economics.

That actually might be the dumbest suggestion I’ve ever seen on a wrestling site.

 

Now, I don’t want you to take this too seriously. A lot of people on here get soiled when I bring up that wrestling isn’t near as popular as it used to be, because I think on some level, it takes away from their enjoyment of it for some reason. That’s just my opinion. But you said before that reading stuff online influenced what you liked and didn’t like. I didn’t think that was possible for an adult, but you’ve taught me that this may not necessarily be the case. I enjoyed your writing style, and the article structure, and the way in which you chose to make your points. So, I hope don’t take it personally just because I don’t think that any of those points make any sense whatsoever.

In conclusion, I don’t know where we found K. Sawyer Paul. Swayze told me he’s published books, and I almost fell off my fucking chair. In fairness, I haven’t read them, so maybe he makes more sense in the books than he makes here – it could be just this one subject where he’s whacked out of his gourd. Or, perhaps he was in front of a keyboard when he had a stroke, and that article was the result of it? I don’t know, but Sawyer, the next time you smell toast, do yourself a favor and close the laptop. It has to be that, right? Because we won’t hire Swayze, who people actually enjoy reading, whether it be because they agree with him or not, and yet we let Sawyer’s article go up? Anyone who would actually take the time to e-mail Triple Glazed complaining about anything Swayze, who is not staff, has said on the comment board of this site, and NOT complain about how atrocious this actual article from an actual staff member is, is delirious. (Although, I really doubt that’s actually happened.)

This has been “Interinactivity”. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

I’ll be in my trailer.

Hack
Troll
Blair

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