Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.
"I'm afraid so."
"And you wonder why wrestling is looked at the way it is"
This was the mini conversation a good friend and I had via text messaging after he read some of the Facebook comments under TNA Wrestling's post of the new faction of MVP, Kenny King, and Bobby Lashley. This friend, a wrestling fan of the 80's and 90's who occasionally watches pro wrestling today here and there, was actually intrigued by the group. He's usually indifferent to all products. A blossomed fruit of wrestling's past fandom, he'll get hooked in for periods and to any company if things are interesting enough, but doesn't share the overwhelming passion that most of us on this site do.
"Maybe this faction is a good thing. Maybe it does draw in casual fans", I thought to myself. After all, he tuned in on a random Thursday night with most network television wrapping up or done for the season, and had legit interest in returning for next week. He seemed excited bout the product. This had to be a positive, right?
"No offense bro, but hardcore wrestling fans are the worst type of fans"
Ouch. I love being a pro wrestling fan. It's who I am. "Non taken?!" Of course I take offense to that! He doesn't get it. We're the most passionate fanbase there is.
Then it hit me. He's absolutely right. 100% right. Damn, he's completely correct! Only in pro wrestling do fans watch a program with such judgement and cynicism. Only in pro wrestling do we intentionally look for plot holes, logical gaps, and seek explanation of reoccurring or similar story lines. Only in pro wrestling are we so locked into comparing everything to another product, brand, or time period. Only pro wrestling fans volunteer - willingly - and gladly give negative feedback to deter others on products and brands they have no interest in.
We tear down our love too much. We tear our own genre down too often. We keep others away from this passion which we all love so much because of our silliness and overbearing and outrageous passion.
After all, no fan of "24" watches and says, "They did this last year". No fan of (fill in your favorite band or artist here) willingly makes an attempt to launch an all out assault on other forms of music - they simply don't listen to it and ignore it (Huh, imagine that?). No fan of films and movies complain that Movie A is a blatant rip off of Movie B, even when said movie is a remake. No fan of a TV show dissects the entire product or its overarching story line by each specific show. No fan of a sports team finds it to be an issue when their team goes with younger talent for the future.
Look, I get pro wrestling is the happy medium among all of those outlets mentioned above. I really do. In my opinion, it's what makes it enjoyable. But why are we, a group of fans already behind the eight ball in terms of ostracism and stereotypes by mainstream entities and society, furthering that by hurting the growth of what we love so much?
From the ridiculous comments left on fanpages to the thinking we've developed, it seems that we as an overall fanbase are terrible in sharing, attracting others, and promoting this love. Regardless, if it is the "IWC" or whatever, whomever, those comments wholly represents us all as wrestling fans. Even MMA fans, who share a similarity in the aspect that their niche genre has multiple companies - large, small, independents, and international - do not reach to the depths of negativity as we, wrestling fans do. And just look how their sport has evolved and flourished because of that support, especially among casual fans.
I fully expect many to disagree with this, or even find this piece to be that of myself getting up on a soap box right now, but bear with me and further assess afterwards.
Somewhere along the way, when we all learned about the insider terms and all of the secrets that were protected in pro wrestling, we narrowed our thinking, shrunk our imagination, and developed this weird fixation of thinking from the other end of the entertainment vacuum. I know what you're thinking, blame the writers, bookers, creative, etc. for pro wrestling's recent position, right? While a valid argument can be made for that, as a fanbase, we've become conditioned to using that excuse to complain or gripe about, well, everything. We've become conditioned about pro wrestling negativity and what we expect from it because of this reverse thinking.
We consistently ask said companies to innovate and create, yet, we seem to complain about little things that rub against the traditional ways in which wrestling is presented. Again, being honest, it drives me nuts when others claim what a "heel ought to do", or a "face should do", or "how a current feud should play out", or even why a gimmick match HAS to be the last match in a feud? By staying along these lines, aren't we staying in line with the norm, thus promoting the norm and eliminating the chance to be different? Aren't we asking for essentially the opposite of what we're begging for as a fan base?
This of course crosses over into our latest phenomenon of comparing everything. Everything is copying everything. Rather than focus on the uniqueness that makes each faction, each storyline, each wrestler, and each product different, we seek what looks, feels, or might be a stretch (or a huuuuuuge stretch) in being similar. "They're copying..." is often heard and read these days in reviews, point of views, and comment sections. Again, such reasoning leaves little doubt to why when we see three wrestlers who happen to be black form a group, our narrow mindedness and conditioning immediately hearkens to the last time black wrestlers grouped together in pro wrestling. Of course, "they're copying...".
Furthering my point, is our need to over think, over-analyze, and dissect this love of ours. Again, maybe I'm different or just out of the loop from many, but I watch pro wrestling for the complete opposite of serious logic. I look to be entertained. I enjoy the wackiness once in a while just as much as the seriousness it provides. I want to suspend my disbelief for a few hours and let my imagination roam that a wrestler can invade another person's home, or that he or she can be punched repeatedly in the head for a ten minute match, or that these folks only settle their differences every Thursday night at 9pm on Spike TV. Sure, like many of you debate frequently, I want things to at least be coherent and somewhat make sense in the mix, but I'm not looking for a Schindler's List or a Shawshank Redemption experience from pro wrestling. After all, using that thinking, no one should ever believe an Irish whip is a useful tactic to defend themselves in a fight or contest.
We've seen child custody battles in pro wrestling. Men thrown in jail for the night for losing a match. Girlfriends put on the line in a match. C'mon, there are proverbial "wrestling weddings"! And numerous other silly things that make pro wrestling, pro wrestling.
This all lends to the "booking" sinkhole we all fall into. Again, someone needs to clearly define "good booking" because everyone, every single one of us, touts their mighty fists in the air proclaiming this golden diatribe against wrestling today with no - none whatsoever - substance at all.
But again, we're so conditioned in what "should be". We're conditioned at this point to a certain mode of thinking. And, again being honest, there are some who are so deep in this line of thinking that they enjoy complaining about pro wrestling moreso than, well, pro wrestling! The classic goalpost movers. I truly believe that. You know who they are. We all do. They're very easy to spot.
Others simply head into any wrestling program with this negative and often cold mindset that prevents them from truly enjoying the product, or at the very least, part of the product.
It's time for us to look in the mirror. It's really time for us to figure out what we're truly arguing, bickering, and complaining about in pro wrestling. Why do we attack the very genre we love. Why do we attack the companies within it? Heck, why do we attack one another?! Really, what is our cause in all of this? What are our reasons? What defines our issues with pro wrestling? The time is now to understand the damage we do to our fanhood, the industry, and to those who ay want to join in on the awesomeness that is pro wrestling which we all already can be offered. Let's find a solution to the real problems that irks us all and cease our continued and pointless attack on the very thing we all claim to love.
"I think that's drastic. Hardcore wrestling fans are passionate"
"Are you kidding me? They are the only fanbase that consistently promotes and tear down their interest on their own. One minute, something is awesome, the next they are complaining about out what should've happened instead"
True indeed. He's right...again.
After all, as I learned from stepping back from it all for a different perspective, we are indeed the worst thing going in pro wrestling. Again, we consistently complain for change, yet criticize when companies deviate from the norm. We watch programs awaiting for the first moment of disgust so we can gripe about it. And we can't seem to get out of our own way in comparing everything, thus devaluing what a company is attempting to create - for us to enjoy - in the process.
We are worse than any terrible gimmick, story line, or company you can imagine. We are worse than Shockmaster's debut, than Vince Russo's perceived reputation, than a Punjabi prison match, than Robocop's debut, than the Aces and Eights, or anything else we can complain about.
It's often said, we, the fans, are wrestling's lifeblood.
Yet, what we've become is also, the pro wrestling industry's biggest enemy.
How scary is that?
Anyone else find it insanely hilarious how many assume TNA was going for an all-black faction gimmick just because all three men are of color?
With that logic, is the Managerie an all-white faction gimmick? And with that said, how ridiculous is our logic?
Speaking of logic, I'm no ROH hater,I actually enjoy it, but what's the deal with ROH fans throwing stones at TNA lately?
I thought everyone says TNA should worry about themselves and not WWE. Shouldn't this logic apply to ROH in pursuit of #2, TNA?
Okay, enough with the logic stuff...
Isn't heel MVP so much better?
And hasn't he been tremendous since coming to TNA?
How great is Kenny King's latest deal as a loose cannon?
And with the talk of Money, Power, Respect, wouldn't it be great if TNA somehow got the licensing rights for their theme song to be that of "Money, Power, Respect" by The Lox?
How about TNA squeezing, twisting, crushing, and wringing the sponge that is now Frankie Kazarian before he heads to ROH?
Anyone else ready and excited for a Wolves vs. King/Lashley match?
How great was Austin Aries' return?
Alot of wrestler perform the spear maneuver, but isn't Lashley's one of the best since, well, possibly Goldberg?
Doesn't Bram pull off the whole "crazy" thing without having to shout, act weird, or be over the top, really well?
How AWESOME was that Eddie Edwards/Kenny King fight?
Don't you love how everyone seriously just wants to kick everyone else's ass right now in TNA?
Well, except for Gunner and Shaw. Are you perplexed by this as well?
Maybe it was a mistake or a run-of-the-mill comment by Taz, but isn't "big ass elbow" a pretty funny and catchy name for his elbow drop finisher, which probably is the best in wrestling right now?
How dominant does Lashley look after tonight's show?
Wasn't there a great deal of energy in tonight's show that really had a "next level" vibe to it?
As always, your comments and appreciation is well appreciated. Feel free to follow me over at www.twitter.com/domepondering to discuss wrestling or just about anything else.