Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch - Wrestling Forum : WWE, TNA, Indy Wrestling, Lucha Underground, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

I grew up in the 80s, where the most popular wrestler was a guy who epitomized good American values and ethics. Eat your vitamins, say your prayers. Hulk Hogan would do battle with the most villainous people. He was a hero and a role model and a patriot

Fast forward to the Attitude Era, the two most popular guys were both jerks. The Rock would regularly make fun of backstage interviewers like a mean, high school jock picking on nerds. He would run them down for not being as cool as him, or not getting laid as often as he does. You had guys just doing their jobs trying to get an interview and the Rock would publicly embarrass them.

Steve Austin...was an asshole. He would stunner people on a whim. Hey, I don't like your stupid hat. STUNNER! STUNNER! STUNNER! That's the kind of guy he was, and he didn't even care if you were a woman...which is ironic...considering his first marriage. Anyway....

Fast forward to 2016, the most popular guy in Lucha Underground is an evil psychopath with no humanity and no redeemable qualities whatsoever. He breaks people's arms for his own amusement. He proclaims that his sole purpose is to destroy. He has attacked commentators. He physically assaults authority figures if they don't give him what he wants.He attacked a helpless female ring announcer, a moment she still remembers to this day as you can tell by how she acts whenever he comes to the ring. People complain about intergender matches between two fighters being man on woman violence, but no one talks about the time ring announcer Melissa Santos was kicking, screaming and flailing about as this guy grabbed her hair, tossed her to the ground, and tried to break her arm.

This man currently gets massive babyface pops whenever he comes to the ring. This would be the equivalent of people cheering and rooting for Ramsey Bolton from Game of Thrones or Negan from the Walking Dead. Two people who are evil, sadistic, murderers from their respective shows and two of the biggest villains on said shows

What the fuck is wrong with wrestling fans? No other form of entertainment do the fans LOVE the assholes and psychopaths the way wrestling fans do. Even Brock Lesnar, has gotten huge baby face pops while being a total heel. It's bizarre when you really sit down and think about it, and I think it would seem like bizarre behavior to non wrestling fans. Why are people cheering for that guy who just attacked the commentators at the announce booth they'd say as they see Pentagon Jr. do that very thing this week, on the same show where he shows up in the middle of two other people's match, assaults them and breaks their arms. He then proudly proclaims to the crowd how he is now more dark and evil than ever before. Yeah, that's a guy you want to cheer for there.

Do you know one of the reasons I loved Daniel Bryan? He reached the peak of his popularity while playing a straight up good guy. He smiled. He loved his fans. He was humble. He worked hard for every thing he got. He fought against the corrupt authority figures who tried to hold him down due to prejudice against his looks, people who regularly antagonized the fans that he so loved. He was never mean to anyone. Daniel Bryan was a role model both kayfabe and behind the scenes. Jim Ross even said as much. You couldn't not love Daniel Bryan unless you bought into that kayfabe, B+ player bullshit about him not being pretty enough to main event like underwear model Finn Balor or Thor lookalike Roman Reigns

But Bryan is an anomaly, by and large the most popular wrestlers seem to be assholes. Even Punk you could say was a bit of a prick when he got really over as a face.

What does that say about us as wrestling fans?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 11:33 AM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

I think it's because guys like Pentagon, Rock, & Austin are seen as interesting, & entertaining characters, despite being heels/tweeners/or assholes, and thus, fans are more likely to cheer them.

Guys like Daniel Bryan, Prince Puma, & Fenix got over as faces, because they're interesting, entertaining, and are naturally likable characters. It's just a matter of how you write the wrestlers, I guess.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 01:46 PM
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Who entertains me... O its this psycopath that giggles when teaeing through people and showcasing grear in ring paychology? I'm not booing that. I'm whole heartedly cheering.

I enjoy the craft of professional wrestling. So those I find execute the craft amazingly I will cheer. It isn't about good or evil, but enjoying the wrestling. That naturally means I will get behind more heels in today's environment since faces generally tend to be disingenuos and clearly fake. Bryan is one of the few pure faces that came off as genuine.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 01:56 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

People love entertaining characters who are believable in their roles and have the talent to make it believable. They have to fit the role to pull it off though.

It's why people looked at Reigns being booked as an underdog and never believed it because it's too hard for a guy like him to pull that off in 2016 as everybody knows the game now. You could pull that off with Hogan in 1985 but not now.

Plus Hogan was a character for the musclebound all American 80's while Austin/Rock was a product of the car crash tv 90's/early 00's.

Pentagon works because Lucha Underground is something completely different to your normal wrestling show.

It's just harder to get the clean cut guy over today but Bryan was just a perfect storm.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 02:01 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

For me I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I loved the "cartoon" faces of the 80's and early 90's when I first got into wrestling. I was a proud Hulkamaniac, I worshipped Warrior, I loved the Rockers before the split. I also had the guys I "loved to boo" like Rick Rude, Natural Disasters etc. In the Attitude Era my favourite wrestler was Mankind/Mick Foley as a face, and I think I generally prefer face wrestlers. However I was a fan of Stone Cold and the Rock because they were "badass" more than because I thought they were necessarily the "good guys." With Stone Cold, he may have been an asshole, but he was also "fighting the Man" so to speak. He was a badass dude getting one over on the boss, that's why he got cheered more than being an asshole, at least amongst me and my friends. I can be a fan of a guy for playing a good bad guy, like Pentagon Jr, but I certainly don't see him as a face and would likely "love to boo him" if I was in the Temple. I still prefer the faces though, I love Prince Puma, Fenix aswell. I'm a man in his 30's and I'd buy either of their masks if I could and could afford them ha! I think you're right to a point, and also slightly in error by over-simplifying it. You can still be a "fan" of a bad guy, and appreciate their work as a bad guy. It's the same way Deathstroke or the Joker are awesome characters, whilst still being bad guys. Daniel Bryan was phenomenal because he truly connected, not just because he was a "good guy."
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

What I'm getting from some of these responses is that wrestling fans really don't give a crap about kayfabe anymore. We know someone is bad, but we cheer anyway. So basically, fans are no longer playing along. They don't care about the story telling. I guess I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.

On the Game of Thrones thread, somebody posted some links to a bar where fans gather to watch the show. It's interesting to watch the reactions. Heroes get their moments, and the crowd at the bar cheers. Villains do bad things and you can literally see the pissed off looks on people's faces, you'll even hear people yell out things like, "cunt!" or point angrily at the TV screen. When one of those villains gets done in, the place erupts in applause and cheers. You can even see the anticipation as they are just waiting for that person to get their comeuppance.

Wrestling fans in 2016 just aren't like that. Crowd reactions don't really conform to whether or not someone is good or bad. When I watched WWE programming in recent years, I used to say that WWE are simply incapable of properly presenting faces and heels, but seeing evil monsters get cheers in Lucha Underground shows me that it's not the wrestling promotion, it's the fans. They simply don't care. Good and evil, morals and ethics apparently don't matter in pro wrestling anymore, which means what WWE has been saying for a while now is true, there are no faces and heels anymore. Pentagon Jr. is proof of that. He's the most popular face in LU, yet every single thing he has done since day one have been the actions of a heel. He's arguably more evil than any other heel on the show, including Muertes and Cueto, but the LU fans give him a hero's reception every time they see him.

I don't know why, but that makes me a little sad, as I think your story telling suffers when it no longer matters who the good guys or bad guys are. And like I said before, you only see this in pro wrestling.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 02:51 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

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Originally Posted by Arkham258 View Post
What I'm getting from some of these responses is that wrestling fans really don't give a crap about kayfabe anymore. We know someone is bad, but we cheer anyway. So basically, fans are no longer playing along. They don't care about the story telling. I guess I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.

On the Game of Thrones thread, somebody posted some links to a bar where fans gather to watch the show. It's interesting to watch the reactions. Heroes get their moments, and the crowd at the bar cheers. Villains do bad things and you can literally see the pissed off looks on people's faces, you'll even hear people yell out things like, "cunt!" or point angrily at the TV screen. When one of those villains gets done in, the place erupts in applause and cheers. You can even see the anticipation as they are just waiting for that person to get their comeuppance.

Wrestling fans in 2016 just aren't like that. Crowd reactions don't really conform to whether or not someone is good or bad. When I watched WWE programming in recent years, I used to say that WWE are simply incapable of properly presenting faces and heels, but seeing evil monsters get cheers in Lucha Underground shows me that it's not the wrestling promotion, it's the fans. They simply don't care. Good and evil, morals and ethics apparently don't matter in pro wrestling anymore, which means what WWE has been saying for a while now is true, there are no faces and heels anymore. Pentagon Jr. is proof of that. He's the most popular face in LU, yet every single thing he has done since day one have been the actions of a heel. He's arguably more evil than any other heel on the show, including Muertes and Cueto, but the LU fans give him a hero's reception every time they see him.

I don't know why, but that makes me a little sad, as I think your story telling suffers when it no longer matters who the good guys or bad guys are. And like I said before, you only see this in pro wrestling.
I get how you feel. It is weird, but I guess that's something to be expected when the curtain has been pulled back as far as it has with wrestling. That being said, it does make the guys who can get over as heels, that much better heels, in my opinion.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 03:07 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

Surely this cultural shift towards fans digging psychos & assholes dates back to 80s horror movie characters like Freddy & Jason becoming the main draw of their respective film franchises, with fans wanting to see them hack & slash their way through a disposable cast, rather than receive their comeuppance.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 03:10 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

Since the 80s, people have embraced their inner asshole and used it to connect with wrestling characters over the years. That's why villains get cheered a lot.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 03:14 PM
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Re: Modern wrestling fans are an odd bunch

I think, especially in fiction today, we don't have good guys and bad guys anymore, we just have people with motivations that we are free to agree or disagree with. It's like how in old comic books you had clean-cut good guys like Captain America and Superman who were morally perfect but now we have characters like Batman and Deadpool who are either "by any means necessary" heroes or cocky heroes who act like arseholes. Society has just evolved past that archaic good guy/bad guy divide and they want something deeper from fiction.

And look at the real world. Daesh has supporters and members, the KKK has members, the Westboro Baptist Church has members. Is it really all that unbelievable that in an underground fight club that has built it's reputation off of excessive violence, the paying fans are going to love watching a guy fucking people up and breaking their arms?

The reason I liked guys like Michael Shane and CM Punk when I was a kid and why I liked Pentagon, Naito & Devitt recently was because they drew me in and got me invested in what they were doing. Punk was a pompous knob but I found him entertaining because he seemed to revel in the fact that people hated him. I was someone who dealt with a lot of negativity from other people when I was a kid so to see someone take all that and turn it into a positive was cool and refreshing so that's why I liked him. As I got older and found out wrestling was scripted, I just appreciated the bad guys for being good at what they do, in the same way that I think Iwan Rheon is a quality actor when he plays an evil bastard like Ramsay Bolton.

It probably depends on how you prefer to watch stuff. Now, I like to watch fiction to appreciate the work that goes into it. Yeah, I get that moment where I'm like "Oh Pentagon, you cunt" but then I just realise how good the writing and performance was to make me think that, even for a few seconds.


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