In the 2006 film, “Superman Returns”, there is a scene where Superman asks Lois Lane what she hears. When she tells him nothing, he responds with, “I hear everything.” I never thought I could relate to that quote on any level, that was until I became more engaged in the toxic playground that we lovingly call, “Wrestling Twitter.” Every thought, opinion, and complaint of millions of wrestling fans at the touch of a button? What could possibly be wrong with that?! The truth is….plenty! It was not until I stopped to really think about it that I came to this chilling revelation….Wrestling Twitter was the only promotion I watched religiously, and that hurt my soul.
Growing up as a wrestling fan was like being part of a secret club. It was not, and to a point still isn’t, a socially acceptable way of spending your time. If I had a nickel for every time I mentioned wrestling around a non-fan and had to deal with, “You mean that fake stuff?”, I could retire yesterday. It’s eerily similar to the Harry Potter-verse. We are the wizards, and they are the muggles. It is why the amount of negativity that pollutes Wrestling Twitter is so baffling. I never knew there were so many of us. I never thought I could feel that sense of community outside of my circle of 2 friends that I’ve been watching wrestling with for 30 years. We used to come to each other’s defense to honor something we love so much. Now we can’t wait to jump at the chance to tear somebody down because they like a certain performer, or certain promotion, or because they don’t watch the indies. Our secret society has imploded. It has gotten so big that the worst thing that can happen to every community happened:We had turned on each other. Since summer was upon us, it occurred to me that maybe it was time to take a little vacation from this madness.
The fact was I wasn’t enjoying wrestling as much as I used to, and I couldn’t figure out why. At first I thought it was the product, but I wasn’t sold on that one right away. It was deeper than just not being engaged in a story line, or seeing a bad match or 2. Was I too old? Had I just become a curmudgeon who could not look past the glory days of my youth? Was I going through some sort of wrestling mid-life crisis at age 36? What was different about it? What was different about how I watched it? Aha! There it was! It had nothing to do with the what I was watching, it was what I was doing while watching. My phone was always in my hand. If I wasn’t watching on my iPad, it was right next to me, ready to check how all of you were reacting. Ready to make a funny observation in hopes of entertaining my fellow fans. Segments or matches I thought were good, would get obliterated on social media. That made me feel like I was missing something, or like I was out of touch. It also made me question whether or not the show was actually good. When I realized how much that influenced my experience, and the weight that those opinions carried, I knew I had to change my approach. I had to get back to basics. I had to rediscover why I loved this sport so much.
I deleted my Twitter app on May 30th. Instantly I felt that this was the right thing to do. I was excited to see how I would change throughout this experiment. I had to know if something that started out as a fun add-on to my favorite TV, had turned into an addiction. The first week of my hiatus was easier than I thought. I watched Raw and Smackdown on my own time, with no outside interference. I was able to enjoy the NJPW Dominion show relatively spoiler free over the course of 2 days. The only result that I knew of being Chris Jericho’s victory, and that was Facebooks fault. As the days turned into weeks I felt more connected to the shows, instead of being connected only to other fans. The next big WWE show was Money in the Bank, and I was able to watch that the morning after, completely spoiler free. Was it the best show ever, of course not, but for the first time in what felt like eons the product felt fresh. I simply watched. That was a big deal to me. That made me think of a question to ask all of you….How long has it been since you actually WATCHED wrestling? Because you can’t tell me you are focused on the show, and really taking in all that is going on, if you are constantly looking at your phone, and scrolling through a Twitter timeline. Your attention is on that, not what is on the television. That is a fixable problem that fans in 2018 are ignoring, and I promise taking a break will help you cleanse your wrestling soul.
Look I get it. The amount of followers you have on social media matters in the world we live in. Wrestling blogs and podcasts are a dime a dozen, and you have to do what you can to stand out in that crowded room. It is our passion, and it is important. What I do ask is that you don’t mortgage that passion for the sake of followers and downloads. Maybe take a break from “live tweeting” Raw, lock your phone away and just watch it. Ignore the opinions of others, reflect and form your own ideas. It may surprise you how much it will impact your fandom. Hell it may even improve your projects! I am ready to step back into this forum because I believe in my heart I can help bring our wrestling community back from he brink. So for the sake of your sanity please take a breath anddecide for yourself how you want to consume wrestling, as well as interact with good people who also share in your passion. Take stock in what kind of fan you are, and what kind of fan you can be. Avoid letting the opinions of others get to you. Avoid pushing your opinions on others. Talk to one another instead of argue. If we can stand together as fans once again, the wrestling community we have created can flourish. If you need help getting there, you know where to find me.