I attended 2CW’s tenth-annual Living On The Edge event on Saturday along with 2,000 other fans at the Jefferson Community College gym in Watertown, NY.
The show was decent – although a 40-minute delay before the show and an intermission of nearly an hour didn’t help – but my enjoyment was dampened by a pervading cloud of outright hatred of WWE that wasn’t simply suggested, but outright promoted by 2CW itself.
There were small, satirical examples: Guy Sunshine entered to AJ Lee’s music and cosplaying the newly retired former WWE Divas champion and Jason Axe entered in a Scooby Doo costume mocking Triple H’s WrestleMania entrance. As isolated incidents, these could be looked at as innocuous and even funny incidents. However, a quick scroll through the company’s official Twitter account (@2CW) reveals an abundance of tweets and retweets which publicly slate and criticize WWE. Then, at company’s own gimmick table, was this t-shirt:
This pushed me over the edge.
Before I go any further, let me first say that it is obvious that there are a thousands of things to criticize WWE about. There are thousands, if not millions of people who bombard social media on a daily basis with jokes and criticisms aimed solely at WWE. I would never begrudge anyone for harboring hatred towards WWE as a business or as a pro wrestling promotion — that discontent and disillusion with WWE and its current product is valid and justifiable.
It’s one thing to criticize the world’s largest pro wrestling company from a personal social media account or from a blog/website/forum specifically aimed at creating a dialogue on the subject. It’s another thing entirely to do so as the official voice of an independent wrestling promotion.
When an independent promotion such as 2CW promotes an almost militant hatred of WWE, it is spitting in the face of a majority of its fans who wouldn’t be attending their shows if not for an interest in professional wrestling that is nurtured and fostered on a weekly basis by WWE television. These fans, whose wrestling intake is limited to Monday Night Raw, are the fans 2CW should be working to sell on their product and I’m not certain how likely they’ll be to come back if the product they watch on TV on a weekly basis is disparaged loudly and frequently when they dare to take a step out of their comfort zone.
It should be noted that the WWE created the two biggest stars on this weekend’s show. And make no mistake: a large number of fans came to this show solely to see WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Scotty 2 Hotty, men who achieved the height of their fame with WWE. A handful of people (such as myself) may have come to see Samoa Joe or Biff Busick (who apparently missed his flight to this show, by the way), but that’s a small percentage of the 2,000+ people in attendance. Most were there to see Duggan and Scotty, not Isis Ephex or Greg Iron. Fans swarmed to the exits following Duggan’s match despite the fact that the main event title match was still to come.
This is the same WWE that, as it widens its net to include more independent talent, companies like 2CW are essentially serving as training grounds for and this is the same WWE that any independent wrestler worth his salt strives to succeed in. Sure, there may be a handful of guys in the locker room who are happy to be weekend warriors, throwing on the trunks and kneepads, beating each other’s heads in for gas money, but the vast majority of the wrestlers who appear for 2CW and other minor independent promotions dream of becoming superstars with the very company 2CW hates so loudly.
Rather than spending time, energy and money on slamming WWE, 2CW and companies like them would be much better served to focus on themselves and what they do well. Instead of highlighting the silly things that WWE does that detract from their wrestling, they should do everything they can to show their audience what they do better. Instead of creating t-shirts that bury WWE, they should create more t-shirts that put themselves over for their own merits. They need to focus on doing what 2CW does to make 2CW great.
What makes this hatred so disappointing is that 2CW is an otherwise great company. Their shows are fun, frequent and (generally) family-friendly. They bring in bigger independent names to supplement their local talent and they run their own wrestling school. As a resident of Central New York, I want nothing more than for them to be a huge success and, as their ten years in existence proves, they’re doing something right. Ultimately, 2CW loudly proclaiming their petty attitude towards WWE is doing them a disservice. It isn’t just insulting to a portion of their audience or, potentially, their roster, but it detracts from the things the company does so well.
One of the criticisms I have of WWE’s current product is that there is too much emphasis on telling me their story rather than SHOWING me something and letting me connect the dots to create my own story. 2CW and companies like them would be well served to learn from this. Don’t TELL me that WWE sucks and does things wrong. SHOW me what you do and why it is better.