Offbeat Shenanigans #12 – A Defense of Wrestling Fans (Part I)

Kevin McElvaney


â<80><9c>A Defense of Wrestling Fans – Part Iâ<80>

Greetings, Shenanifans. I get my share of feedback from WrestleZone readers on the things I write for the site. Much of it is positive and, of course, some of it is negative. Being that I am not an evil autocrat, I welcome any kind of feedback there is. That said, this doesnâ<80><99>t mean I donâ<80><99>t take exception to some negative comments which are leveled at me.

In response to my most recent â<80><9c>Take on ECW,â<80> I received one such message from a NY state independent wrestler. The guy was forthwith enough to give me his name, but, for the sake of this column, Iâ<80><99>ll keep him anonymous. He competes for NWA Upstate, along with Colin Olsen. Olsen wrestled Shelton Benjamin on the most recent edition of ECW on Sci-Fi, in a one-sided match. In my review, I referred to Colin by the name WWE had given him, â<80><9c>Colin Delaney.â<80> After some admittedly brief research didnâ<80><99>t turn up his true identity, I was content to just proceed on with the review.

This coworker of Colinâ<80><99>s called me out on my credibility as a journalist. While it is true that the identity of Colin Olsen was turned up pretty soon after I posted my review, it wasnâ<80><99>t a high priority of mine at the time. Iâ<80><99>d wanted to unearth his true name, but it was also important to get my review of the Tuesday night show online. After all, this was a time sensitive editorial.

â<80><9c>Please do your homework,â<80> the anonymous indy wrestler wrote. â<80><9c>because this type of s**t is what makes us as wrestlers laugh at you wrestling marks.â<80>

I responded to the wrestler and let him know about some of the process that went into writing my weekly review. More important was it, in the case of the review, that I get my opinions online than to find out Colin Delaneyâ<80><99>s usual name. (I should add that Colin seems very talented. His bumps really helped Shelton Benjamin look tough / credible.) I also took offense to the last line of his email, which Iâ<80><99>ve included above. I wasnâ<80><99>t offended at being called a â<80><9c>wrestling mark,â<80> because, as a fan of the sport, thatâ<80><99>s what I am. What I took offense to was the very idea of wrestlers laughing at their audience.

This is nothing new, and Iâ<80><99>m not singling out this particular wrestler, because heâ<80><99>s far from the only person to adopt this attitude. Am I saying that nothing wrestling fans do is laughable? Far from it. And, of course, wrestling fans do mock in-ring competitors for reasons other than those part of a storyline. What Iâ<80><99>m saying is that this attitude is a very poor one to display publically, especially for men and women who make their money from said fans.

Think about this for a second. What would you do if Jay-Z came out and said, â<80><9c>My fans are absolute jokes.â<80> Would you still buy his records? Maybe you would if you were a glutton for punishment. In all likelihood, youâ<80><99>d say, â<80><9c>To heck with Jay-Z. Iâ<80><99>ll listen to someone else who respects my intelligence.â<80>

Again, this isnâ<80><99>t a problem Iâ<80><99>m affixing to the wrestler who contacted me. Though Iâ<80><99>m unfamiliar with his work, heâ<80><99>s competing for a respected organization, and Iâ<80><99>m sure heâ<80><99>s quite talented. In addition, he was probably only trying to get his friend and co-worker the attention he felt Colin deserved. I respect that.

You know, itâ<80><99>s kind of funny. I was hired to write for WrestleZone, along with Sean â<80><9c>Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80> McGuinney and Chris â<80><9c>The Authorityâ<80> Schultz. (Why donâ<80><99>t I have a cool wrestling nickname?) We were hired because of our journalistic credentials and, to some extent, because of our wrestling fandom / background. None of the three of us are pro wrestlers. Meanwhile, wrestlers have been hired, all around us, to speak their mind to WrestleZone fans. Earlier this week, the five most recent Editorials authors were, in order: Chris Masters, Justin Credible, Kevin McElvaney, Glen Gilberrti, and Konnan. One of these thiiings is not like the otheeer…

Seriously, how are the journalists supposed to compete with the kind of credibility you see there? Weâ<80><99>ve never laced up the boots, unless you count wintertime snow activity as â<80><9c>lacing up the boots.â<80> Weâ<80><99>ve never worked for WWE, TNA, ROH, or any other wrestling organization. Correct me if Iâ<80><99>m wrong, Sean and Chris. I donâ<80><99>t know EVERYTHING about your respective backgrounds.

So, anyway, how are we supposed to contribute? Well, simply, because we represent our fellow wrestling fans. And, as fans, weâ<80><99>re also entitled to be critics. Should wrestlers take us seriously? Thereâ<80><99>s been heated debate about this on this site. Glen Gilbertti and Kevin Kelly are of the opinion that, no, wrestlers shouldnâ<80><99>t listen to us. Thatâ<80><99>s a fair thing to say, I think. Still, a respectful and passionate wrestling fan should be able to give his or her two cents.

If youâ<80><99>ll notice, I donâ<80><99>t criticize the wrestlers too much in my columns. Most of my problems are with booking. If Iâ<80><99>m bored with a match and complain about it, most of the time the problems can be traced back to whoever laid the match out. Most of the time, at least in WWE, the wrestlers themselves have very little say over the general pacing and endings of matches. Granted, theyâ<80><99>re calling the moves and all the shots, but, if a match ends in a DQ or features two cruiserweights trading chinlocks, then it wasnâ<80><99>t the guys in the ring making those calls.

Like anyone else who watches wrestling on TV, I can change the channel if a long-winded Vince McMahon promo bores me. I donâ<80><99>t ever turn the matches off, because I have a lot of respect for the wrestlers, themselves. I can also choose to order or not order a pay-per-view, depending if I like the matches featured. As fans, we are crucial to the success or lack thereof in the business. If we want to say that Cyber Sunday sucked, by God weâ<80><99>re allowed to.

Next week, Iâ<80><99>ll be taking a look at the people who ostracize wrestling fans far more than those in the business – the general public. Stay tuned.

Kevin McElvaney is a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. Send questions or comments to kjmcelvaney@yahoo.com.

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