Pocket Volcano: When wrestling fans go to war
“[Promotion] is so much better than any other independent promotion, they book
the wrestlers fans want to see!”
“[Wrestler] is so overrated.”
“[Promotion] is the BEST in the world!”
“[Wrestler] is awesome, she should be booked everywhere!”
“[Promotion] only accepts the best, period.”
“[Promoter/booker] doesn’t know how to book properly, he’s screwing up
“[Wrestler] can’t go to WWE, they will ruin her!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? If you are an independent wrestling fan, and more specifically a female wrestling fan, you’ve heard these sentences before and more like them. Some probably a lot more vulgar at times, some more hurtful, some more personal.
As a wrestling fan myself it makes me cringe sometimes. I get being a fan of a particular person or promotion (I have my favourites like everyone else), but what I don’t get is running down other companies that are trying to provide an outlet for talented wrestlers (male or female), or running down women who are doing their best to show that it’s not all Divas or Knockouts.
The negative comments are everywhere. From Twitter to Facebook to message boards to comment sections on news stories. Everywhere! For example, the other day I saw someone run down the eight women who are going to be in 2CW‘s Girls Grand Prix tournament that’s being held by Squared Circle Wrestling in New York. The women in question are Sara Del Rey, Serena Deeb (if she is medically cleared to wrestle by the time of the tournament), Rachel Summerlyn, Portia Perez, Alexxis Nevaeh (WSU‘s Lexxus), Nikki Roxx, Courtney Rush and Cherry Bomb. Now, if you aren’t a fan of any of these women, that’s your right. However, to say that they are unskilled or shouldn’t be in the ring anymore is quite frankly ludicrous. All of these women are busting their asses to become better and better in their craft (even Del Rey, one of the best wrestlers in the world) and just because you aren’t a fan you would rather see them leave wrestling? Del Rey is one of the best role models for women in wrestling. You never hear anything about her being unprofessional or hard to work with, you never hear any gossip about her, she constantly studies tapes and goes to the gym to keep in top shape – and you want her to leave because you find her boring?
Every woman, from Leva Bates to Courtney Rush to Serena Deeb to Sara Del Rey put their hearts and souls into what they do. If you aren’t a fan, that’s fine, but at least afford them the respect they deserve and realise their contributions to the sport. Considering the medical condition that Serena is suffering from may leave her unable to return to wrestling, it’s poor form to actively wish she would never return.
It’s not just restricted to rabid fans of specific women, it’s also rabid fans of promotions so much so that they can’t see the positives in the others. There are fans of SHIMMER that look down on WSU and vice versa; fans of ACW that look down on SHIMMER and vice versa; fans of Chikara that look down on ROH and vice versa. And I have to wonder – why? If you have a personal preference for one promotion over another, that’s fair. However, to slam a company because they don’t do things the way you would personally do them, or because they don’t operate like other companies, that’s unfair. Perhaps you disagree with how someone is being booked in a particular company. Did you ever stop to think that if the women themselves didn’t like it, they would stop working or taking bookings there? Perhaps they are happy with how they are being used. Maybe the promotion has something in mind but they have a time frame as to how it will develop. Patience is something very few wrestling fans seem to have.
Every time you hear that someone has had a tryout with WWE there is the inevitable outcry, especially in a woman’s case. “No! She can’t sign with them, she will have 2 minute matches and have to dumb down her move set for the models!” Nine times out of ten that’s the argument, that a talented wrestler will be “ruined” if she signs with them. There was a recent discussion about this topic on a forum recently about Sara Del Rey specifically. It’s no secret she wants to sign with them, and a few folks were for it, some were against it.
Do fans really think that Sara, or really any female wrestler who wants to go from the independent promotions to WWE, does not realise what they are in for? That’s insulting their intelligence, if so. Who are any of us to know what’s in the hearts and minds of those who want to sign with WWE? Perhaps they want the 2 – 3 minute matches as it would certainly be easier on their bodies. Perhaps they want to be able to travel places they haven’t been before overseas. Perhaps they want the financial security that being a WWE employee would almost certainly bring. Perhaps they have accomplished everything they’ve wanted to and now they want to achieve their biggest dream. Perhaps they believe that, by signing with them, they can improve the division and give fans a more balanced view of what female wrestling can actually be. As Allison Danger herself said:
“I must say I myself have a problem with fans accusing wrestlers of “selling out” because they signed with WWE or TNA. It is not selling out when you follow your dream and actually achieve it. It is a terrible trend and frankly I loathe hearing fans chant it at wrestlers. While I would miss sharing a locker room with Del Rey if she were signed (and she SHOULD be!) I would be the first in line to congratulate her.
Let today be the first day of the end of “You sold out”.
Bottom line is this: we as fans have no right to try to tell promotions what to do or how to book their women. If the promotions are happy with what they are doing, if they are drawing money, and if the women themselves that work for said promotions are content with how they are being booked, isn’t that what is important? We as fans have no right to tell anyone who they should or should not work for – the more promotions that book these women, the more money and the more exposure the women get and more fans get to see what true female wrestling looks like. We as fans have no right to tell any woman that wants to work for WWE that her dream is wrong – if you are a fan of someone, you should support them as they fight for their dreams and their goals.
Be a fan. Not a fanatic.
- Jennifer Logsdon