What’s Bothering Me (In Professional Wrestling)

Nick Paglino

NUMBER 5: Fans Chanting "What" During Promos

I would imagine that Vince McMahon completely regrets the day he allowed Steve Austin to start this gimmick.  Of course, how could he have known that years later – even after Stone Cold was long gone – fans would still be interrupting promos and causing a distraction by chanting "What?" after every sentence.  As irritating as it must be for wrestlers trying to get their message across, it's also in the "Top 5" things that are bothering me this week.

As a fellow fan, I long for "mark out" moments when I attend a live wrestling event.  I want to be persuaded by a well-delivered promo or a great match to get out of my chair and yell at the top of my lungs.  However, I also know my place as a wrestling fan.  I understand how much of a difference I can make in the overall product and how well something comes across for those watching at home.  Chanting "What?" for no reason at all is counter-productive.  The fact that you're vocal isn't enough.  You need to be vocal in the proper way and at proper times.

It's much like the Impact Zone crowd.  They are as faithful as they come, but they often take away from the TNA product with their vocal outcries.  While TNA (and even WWE) might miss the mark at times, it's almost always clear who the babyface is supposed to be and who the heel is in a particular program.  However, smart marks – due to some warped idea of "showing mutual respect" or something – feel the need to chant for both wrestlers.  In very rare instances, cheering a "bad guy" is very appropriate.  Steve Austin, as an example, turned the business upside down back in the 90's and his transition from heel to face – caused by the WWE Universe when they turned on Bret Hart during his program with Austin – was a major factor in his success.  There are right times to go against the grain, but they are few and far between.

"Let's go Cena!"  
"Cena Sucks!"
"Let's go Cena!"
"Cena Sucks!"

A perfect example of genuine emotion by "most" fans.  Some rally against Cena just because they think it's the "cool thing to do", but most do it because they have an authentic resentment toward Cena due to him being shoved down our throats day in and day out.  Now that WWE has finally stopped denying the mixed reaction Cena receives every time he comes out, it adds an interesting overtone to everything Cena does.  It works.

I will probably never understand the satisfaction a wrestling fan gets by chanting "What?" during the middle of a promo.  And unfortunately, "that" is probably what bothers me the most about it.

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