What Makes a “Wrestling Fan”

Mike Killam

The "WWE Isn't Wrestling" Argument

file_277929_0_wwe-logowallI know there are a lot of indie wrestling fans right now in agreement with me. But let's turn that smug sense of justice around on yourself, shall we? How many people today straight up attack you if you claim to be a WWE fan? Call you things like "stupid" or "ignorant". Say that just because you find WWE to be enjoyable, you're not a "real" wrestling fan. You don't "get it", because it's all you've ever known.

WWE fans are the Call of Duty players of the wrestling world. There's a lot of them. Most of them, that's the only thing they want to know, or ever will know about the business. And indie fans hate them, because they don't fit into some preconceived idea of what "wrestling fan" means. WWE fans are "uneducated" because their favorite wrestlers don't no-sell superkicks and do 37 suicide dives to the outside in every match. Their favorite wrestlers care about kids, family entertainment and want to make a product that everyone can enjoy. Maybe they don't take enough risks in their matches, maybe they don't curse enough, or bleed themselves dry every night for your entertainment. 

LET'S JUST WATCH WRESTLING! 

I love wrestling. I've been watching it every week since 1997, and every day for the past five years. I've seen every WWE pay-per-view, every TNA pay-per-view, most of WCW Nitro and all their pay-per-views. I've seen every WrestleMania, every tape of NWA and Mid-South I could get my hands on. I watch Ring of Honor, PWG, FWE out of New York, and when I can afford it, I watch New Japan and the occasional AAA event from Mexico. Like the rest of the world, I still have no clue what the hell is going on with CHIKARA, but I love it all the same. 

I'm negative when I need to be; I do get paid to have an opinion, after all. But it's always about the event. It's always about the matches, or what I'm seeing. And I always TRY – note that I don't always succeed – at being as objective as I possibly can. It's never about the people behind the wrestling gimmick. It's never about the business people I know nothing about. 

Do you know who I don't consider a wrestling fan? The people that lurk in our comments section, doing nothing but picking on other people for enjoying a wrestling show. The people that do nothing but talk about how moronic WWE fans are; you're not wrestling fans, you don't want to see anything succeed, and it's impossible for you to see anything objectively. If your goal is to hate, you're going to hate. Everything in life is about perspective, and I think there's a lot of wrestling fans with a really awful perspective. Can we, as a gigantic group of like-minded people, put down our pitchforks and Aces & Eights hammers, and come together in a positive celebration of the industry we love, and stop going out of our way to make sure nobody is happy? 

Why is so hard to let people enjoy the things they enjoy? 

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