The internet has ruined wrestling. That is what I was told by someone the other day. I imagine it is a view held by a number of people, even those in the business. Because even though some good things come from the internet (like NXT shows), one thing tends to get lost – surprise.
That is not necessarily a bad thing all the time. People seek out information about things they enjoy, and people enjoy wrestling. If the internet had been around in the 80s, it would have been easier to learn about some of the great talent in the NWA or AWA, and not just the burgeoning worldwide power of the WWF. Instead, fans sought out details of other organizations in magazines (yes, physical paper magazines) like Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Now we get the latest news and backstage updates as quickly as we can read them online, on this site and others. And it makes the experience that much more interesting to us. We become engaged in the business in a way we never did before. We become interested in the wrestlers playing the characters rather than just the characters themselves (in much the same way we can like Harrison Ford as an actor and appreciate him as both Han Solo and Indiana Jones rather than only liking one of those roles and ignoring the rest of his resume). And we feel like we are part of something. Part of an insider club. Someone who has some secret knowledge making us feel just a little bit “more” than a common fan.
So in our quest for as much information as possible about the wrestling industry, we lose some of the surprises to which we might otherwise be subject. Vince Russo built a career out of shock and change and turns and swerves and once the internet grew, that was impossible to keep up in any realistic way. We just weren’t surprised any more. In fact, we became desensitized to it. Oh, someone is turning on someone else. Again. Ho hum. Are we supposed to cheer or boo for this guy any more? Who knows? Shock for the sake of shock just isn’t shocking.
Knowing the information we know, it is hard to have a really big surprise any more. We’re not going to just see AJ Styles show up. We hear rumors of him signing weeks prior. We hear that someone unpacked Shawn Michaels’ pyro at an event, so we are expecting to see him sometime during Raw. And that’s all okay. But it is still nice to be surprised once in a while.
Which brings us to Shane McMahon. A few weeks ago, the WWE genuinely surprised everyone by bringing Shane O’Mac back at the beginning of Raw. And because we were surprised, we cheered. We praised the move. We talked about how it was going to be a good lead-up to Wrestlemania. Even when it turned into a match between Shane and the Undertaker, people were still hoping it would be good. All based off the initial shock.
But does that shock really make the angle good? Not really. I like Shane McMahon as much as the next guy, but I have no desire to see him wrestle. And definitely not wrestle the Undertaker. And I really don’t want to sit through ANOTHER McMahon struggle for power. Which is what this angle has rapidly devolved into, McMahon family drama for control of the company. We’ve seen this before and it is boring. No matter how much the WWE tries to trick us into thinking it is something fresh and unique.
Maybe that is why I find myself not enjoying WWE as much these days. I’m not looking for shock any more. Sure, surprise is nice, but it is nice in a retro way. We’ve been there, done that. We’re on to something new. The wrestling world doesn’t look the same as it used to, and we have to accept this new reality.
The internet hasn’t ruined wrestling, but it has changed it in a way that it can never go back.
One additional thought, real quick – I finally sat down in front of YouTube and watched a few NXT clips. And, I know I am late to the party, but damn, Asuka is awesome! She is so quick and fluid and just incredible. I really hope the WWE doesn’t screw her up.
Another ROH 10 Thoughts coming next week. Enjoy the WWE Roadblock event this weekend. And I’ll be back next week for some more of the Fantasy Book…
Tags: Asuka, Shane McMahon, Vince Russo