Normally, meeting your fellow wrestling fans at a show is a real joy. There are rare occasions where one of your fellow fans will do something or say something so idiotic that all you can is just shake your head. I was “privileged” to see such a fan in action a little over a week ago in Cincinnati, Ohio at a Ring of Honor show. A fan in the front row and Veda Scott exchanged a few words, well a couple of seconds later the fan reared back and slapped Ms. Scott right on her backside. About a minute later, security was escorting the guy out of the venue. His ejection was rightfully deserved, you can say what you want to the talent but you may not touch one of them in a violent or sexual way at any time, and this is just one example of what the talent has to deal with on a nightly basis.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment fans, wrestlers put up with a lot from us fans. Female wrestlers and managers constantly hear crude cat calls from the audience. ROH official Todd Sinclair will forever be taunted about his likeness to Louie Anderson. To their credit, most wrestlers will either ignore the jeers or will play along with the audience. If a performer is bothered by the verbal barrage they take solace in the fact that the shows ends and the fans go home and there is distance from the adoring public for a short amount of time. In the today’s world though that distance is rapidly disappearing.
Twitter and other social media web sites have revolutionized the way we interact with one another. One can could even argue that social media has made celebrities more approachable than ever before. For wrestling fans this is very true. If you like a certain workers match than you send them a message saying. Social media is the easiest way for bloggers or podcasters to get a quote or interview for a story they are working on. On the flip side of the coin, social media has also given antagonistic fans a whole new venue to hone their craft.
The news of TNA’s potential demise has brought out some of the worst kind of trolling. All kinds of images are being shared making a mockery of Dixie Carter and Vince Russo. A few have even stated how the company deserves to go out of business. This is not a joke. All kinds of families will suffer due to a loss of income if the company folds. Even worse, news reports are surfacing that management is keeping TNA talent in the dark about the situation. If you are a member of the TNA roster, you have to be on edge. When a human being is on edge they are prone to overreact to even the slightest provocation. A good troll knows this. So to no surprise there has already been at least one exchange between contracted TNA talent and a fan.
Monday morning I saw a tweet suggesting that Low Ki and Davey Richards were hurting about being let go or not being signed by the WWE. The tweet itself was nothing awful until one sees that both wrestlers were tagged in the post. That, fellows fans, is baiting plain and simple.
— rovert (@SoDuTw) July 28, 2014
Davey responded and the argument was on. The fan continued to make smarmy comments towards the former ROH World Champion which further propelled Davey to defend himself. Don’t get me wrong I am not championing what Davey Richards did, he should have ignored the guy, but I do think he should be cut some slack for the reasons I have already written about in this column.
So, what can wrestling fans learn from this? Well here is my counsel on the matter. Leave the heckling in the bleachers and keep it kayfabe. Why? Well think about what we stand to lose as fans. Well for me as a blogger I would more than likely lose the chance to get a quote or an interview with a particular wrestling talent. I’m sure if any of the VOW podcasters trolled a talent they would lose sources or relationships that are beneficial for the website. On a much wider scale I wager that if the trend continues that a lot of wrestlers will simply quit interacting with fans on social media all together. If that happens it will close one line that connects fan and entertainer. At the end of the day most wrestling fans don’t act like trolls but for those that do I have one final piece of advice, think and then stay classy folks. Don’t spoil the fun for the rest of us.