Social Kayfabe- Social Media and Pro Wrestling: For Better or Worse

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For the the last 35 years, pro wrestling has been a media driven powerhouse.

But …

The same media that has, since 1984, pushed this form of sports entertainment to best-in-the-world status, also has deemed it – at times — as “taboo.”

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Today, pro wrestling is once again on the brink of being ostracized creatively, and even worse, permanently. Pro wrestling “fans” have drastically changed since days past, we, as fans, could literally feel honest fear when The Road Warriors’ music blared. Or how about that feeling of unmitigated disgust and jealousy for the lifestyle that only the Nature Boy knew as reality? Who can forget poor Bruiser Brody’s murder and his case being thrown out because that man made everything just too damn real? Or the most memorable of them all, who can remember reaching out and touching the outstretched fingertips of the American Dream?

I am not obsessed with feelings of the past; those territories are long dead. Since their demise, the WWE has stricken the verbiage “Wrestling” from the English language.  That’s okay with me because change also ushered in the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars.

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Remaining edgy and wild, there was still that feeling of realism. We, the fans, know the predetermined nature of the sport and it doesn’t matter at all. It never used to matter; the feeling was always there mostly because we wanted that feeling there.  When “Stone Cold” Steve Austin pulled the old switcheroo with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, that feeling of realism was at its peak with a newer generation of sports entertainment fans — the cycle was continuing and flourishing.

Sure, it was still a lot different than the days when Fritz Von Erich ran the entire state of Texas, but still even so many years later, the fans know, at that time, Austin, billed from Victoria in the Lone Star State, the could have won the presidency.  Why?  Because of a feeling, a feeling of so badly wanting something to be real that you, yourself, in your heart and mind allowed it to be real.

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Now we are gleefully welcoming in the Social Kayfabe era for pro wrestling. The world in 2019 has a new heartbeat, an algorithm actually, informing us that, if Social Kayfabe isn’t something you are willing to partake, there’s the door. In 2019, it is what drives everyone on the planet: normal people, famous people, politicians, the leader of the free world, and yes, even sports rntertainers. It is what they are passionate about in this day and age — not only is Social Kayfabe killing wrestling rapidly, it’s actually also its driving force. How is that for the most devious of double-edged swords of all time, the hand that is currently feeding the WWE, AEW, ROH, etc., is the same hand that could be responsible for the pro wrestling’s downfall.

The Inability To Just Watch

How many Monday morning bookers do you personally know that host a podcast? Five or maybe six hundred sound about right? While I do realize that maybe a gross exaggeration, the point remains the same. Everyone watching the WWE today believe they can currently do it better than the WWE does it. Don’t fret though, we are in luck because they all have a podcast! Sometimes weekly, nightly, hour long or even longer “shows” Inform us how much better they can run the WWE than Vincent Kennedy McMahon and his hoard of minions can.

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A voice for the voiceless is what they say; well, what if those voices don’t deserve to be heard? A platform for fans to express their talents and opinions sounds great, doesn’t it? What if you could bottle up all the negative feelings associated with pro wrestling and mix it with this overwhelming sense of entitlement? That, my friends, is a wrestling podcast; you would figure something this toxic would be a clear foreshadowing of things to come and it could be easily stifled or even ignored, which, in most instances, podcasts are. Seems simple enough, don’t mix the worlds, don’t allow the real world to seep into the world of suspended belief that was pro wrestling.  Too late, it’s done.

Have we fans destroyed the fantasy world that we created for ourselves by taking it too seriously? An oxymoron indeed.

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Did We Destroy It?

Nope, it is not us who are doing the unrepairable damage to the sport that we all used to love. All we want so desperately is to be part of this amazing world that seems unattainable. However, that is the biggest misconception of them all.

The Fans were at one time a huge part of the show. We actually made the product we saw better. From the beginning, the fans have been an integral part of the show, hating the hateable, loving the loveable, and vocally expressing that to add to the story that these amazing athletes are trying to tell us.  It was our job to add to the show to make it better.  Now, chants of former stars with no current barring echo though the buildings at the most annoying times. Though I don’t think in this Social Kayfabe Era it’s the fans in the seats hurting the product so badly. It’s not the podcasts of the fans in those seats either, without them none of this matters anyways.

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What is it then? Who is robbing us of that feeling?

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We all have a massive black hole inside for wrestling that we can never fill, no matter how good or bad the product is. Who is responsible for destroying this feeling of realism and letting the fans into a world in which we have no business?

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Social Kayfabe

The Social Kayfabe Era is here, and it can be stopped fairly easily actually but it won’t be. Belief is the lifeblood of pro wrestling. It is what makes a small boy of two have the same feelings watching wrestling as that of a 35-year-old man and beyond. Giving in to that belief and embracing it is what makes it real. If it’s up to us the fans to keep it positive and enjoyable for ourselves and everyone else, what happened? Why can’t we keep it as fun for ourselves as we did in the not-so-distant past and not create online talk shows to discuss our displeasure?

It’s not our fault it’s theirs, the Super Stars of the WWE and the pro wrestlers everywhere else. The feeling of mystique that wrestling and wrestlers once held near and dear, that wall of mystery that at one time we wouldn’t dare peak over or even want to is taking massive sledge hammer blows every second. It falls like the Berlin Wall, with tweet by out-of-gimmick tweet. Then a scathing Instagram post in character by Dolph Ziggler going after everyone followed by the next as Nic Nemeth in the bath.

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Enough is enough and it’s time for a change! If these real people want Twitter accounts, sure, enjoy. If Mark Calloway wants to show us his new motorcycle while wearing a Bedazzled Bon Jovi t-shirt, great. I sure as hell don’t want to watch The Undertaker pick out grapefruits at Whole Foods. The wall of suspended belief is crumbling more rapidly by the minute — I can see to the other side and that is exactly from whence Real Life Rhonda Rousey came.

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I watch wrestling to escape the real world for an hour or three. What’s the point of a cross promotion feud on Twitter between the Universal Champion in gimmick and some guy that tried out for 205 Live in gimmick that ends with an apology from Colby Lopez?  That breaks down my wall.

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In the real world, I don’t believe in building walls to hide behind. In my personal world of wrestling enjoyment, I want the most massive, gargantuan, titanium-reinforced, indestructible walls known to mankind. I never thought when watching Vince and Shane simulcast Nitro and RAW that I would long so badly for the days of splitting my time and never seeing all of either show on Mondays I didn’t blog my hate about that in 1998. Then, here they come, larger-than-life actual wrestlers, the toughest of the tough, the most indestructible beings to ever walk the earth – them with their tiny hand computers. They are the ones destroying my wall of make believe by Tweeting out cute pics of Braun Strowman in reading glasses picking flowers.

Keep wrestling real and leave us OUT!

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Make sure to follow my act on Twitter @SuperSmartMark

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