Damn It, Roman!

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Ah man….Roman Reigns. I know, I know. I talk about this guy a lot. But I mean, how can I not? Everyone talks about him!

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His fans? They talk about him. There’s social media accounts dedicated to him because of how much they love him. His haters? Hell they can’t stop talking about him. They too have social media accounts dedicated to getting Roman fired. There’s petitions about it, about him, people boo him out of the building. Good grief, Roman Reigns is forever a trending topic in the online world of professional wrestling/sports entertainment.

Right now we seem to be at a sour spot for countless fans out there. So far, it’s been said that The Undertaker’s last match was in fact his match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. This is seen as a problem for many. Yes, a lot of it has to do with the fact that none of us can fathom the fact or are willing to accept that The Undertaker is retired. Instead he should quite literally be immortal and wrestle for all eternity, but that’s a whole other issue.

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The issue is that the person that was his final opponent was Roman Reigns. Now while this is seen as going out in a classic way: passing the torch to the younger guy to carry the company; the issue is who the torch was passed to. The fact that it’s Roman bothers many, but personally? I’m not completely bothered by it. Mostly because the match itself was horrifying. It’s clear that Taker should in no way have been wrestling, and he clearly cannot go anymore. The man’s body is in no physical condition to do this, hence the absolute slaughter that we witnessed.

To be frank, his last match should have been with Brock Lesnar when the streak ended. He should not have wrestled after that, as he clearly hasn’t been the same. It’s been like watching your grandfather try to fight a spry young man in the prime of his life while he himself is on his last leg. It’s awful, and it’s downright painful to my soul.

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Now, should his last match have been Brock? Nope. Again, that’s something that could have gone to a younger talent to pass the torch along. Maybe if Bray was in all his creepy prime, he could have done it. Or hell, it could have been Finn Balor if timelines were different. But Brock? To end the streak? Come on… If there was no possible way to pass the torch to a younger talent, I’d have gone with Kane, or bring back the Legend Killer to finally do the greatest job of all time, kill Taker.

Unfortunately time doesn’t work like that. We don’t have our own TARDIS’ lying around for us to fix these grave mistakes. Instead, we make do with what we’ve got, and as fans, we can choose to enjoy it or choose to change the channel. When you choose to stick with the product, you’ve got to face the facts. This isn’t your show, and you can’t manipulate it any way you want it, even if it’s that’s the way you need it, most of the time it’s just not going to happen.

Take for example, turning Roman heel, as though that is the be all end all to save the day. Now, I remember this being said about a certain John Cena. Would it have been great to see? Hell yeah? Will it happen? Nah. Yet look at Roman, the man killed the Undertaker (though I would still technically give that to Brock Lesnar), and he’s been booed out of the building ever since. That sounds like a pretty solid heel, or at the very least if they’re not willing to fully embrace it: an antihero. Though I suppose it depends on the day and the crowd he’s playing to. He’s already treated like a heel by the fans and every opponent he has is cheered as a face. So what does it matter whether or not he makes a full fledged heel turn?

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We’re at a very confusing time right now in wrestling. Heels are cheered and babyfaces are booed whether that’s out of boredom or just because they’re stale. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re a jaded audience these days that relates far more to a cynical heel than a hopeful babyface. Whatever the reason is, the lines between good and evil are clearly blurred especially with WWE’s writing as of late. While we seem to firmly believe the recipe for success is a classic good versus evil fight, it’s very rare we can achieve these classic archetypes in a time where being the antihero or the bad guy is all the rage.

So where does that leave us? The fuck are we to do with Roman Reigns being booed out the building and this rocket strapped to his ass, knowing that everyone hates it?

Change the channel, honestly. The same people that whine about his push and other superstars being buried are the same people that swear that indy wrestling is better. So…go watch it. There’s other programs to watch, why must something be destroyed just because you don’t like it, knowing that you can’t control anything that happens? Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and countless others that I’m missing are all available for you to watch. So support them, help them grow, so you can someday see the types of storylines and wrestling that you want to see. Come back to WWE when things have changed or you’re drawn to something that’ll grab your attention more than your painful hatred and disgust of Roman Reigns. I know, it’s hard to get rid of such an addiction, but I mean….why put yourself through that hate?

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Toxic Environment Women Face in the Professional Wrestling Fandom (part 2, final)

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Continuing on the theme of pointing out the horrific behavior of some male smarks within the WWE–today I discuss the difference between being an intellectual fan and being a whining brat. These observations mostly come from Twitter interactions with or without my inclusion, primarily during Monday Night RAW or any given PPV.

The difference lies in whether or not you’re a man or woman. If you happen to be a male and that’s blatantly obvious, then you’re simply a smark. If you complain about the show nonstop, gripe about your favorite not being at the top, proclaim that another talent is being buried, then you’re a smart fan. You must know exactly what you’re talking about and clearly have a better understanding than most of those that watch WWE today.

Funny enough, most people proudly wear a smark badge, taking pride in predicting a finish or knowing the trajectory of a wrestler.

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However if you’re a female, that’s seen completely differently. When you do any of the previously mentioned things, you’re usually whining or complaining. The reasons being that you’re upset because the one you find most attractive won’t be seen as much. Or you’re mad because you love them so much and that’s the only reason you want them to be the best there is. Not for talent, because women don’t look for that, it’s only based on their looks.

If a male says Dean Ambrose is being buried, it’s because he actually is getting buried. Yet if a woman were to say it, she’s only saying it because she wants him to be at the top all the time. Why? Because she’s apparently in love with him.

First of all, I don’t think you know what the word “buried” means, but that’s for another day.

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Male smarks rarely if ever get challenged by other males when in discussion. Their intelligence is never called to question nor insulted. Yet when a female does it there’s a constant need for proof and factual information. If possible, a link to a video or interview, and timestamp included down to the last possible second.

Then if there’s a disagreement and no resolution to be made? The female fan is often reduced to her looks, she’s called fat, ugly, or they’ll switch it up. Sometimes instead she’ll be a bitch (because she has an intelligent argument) or a whore (what?) and more often than not the harassment only continues to escalate from there. Reaching unsafe, very real threats that make women not want to talk about wrestling and make this environment feel toxic.

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Yet when two males reach a disagreement, what happens? A quick “whatever bro”, a block, maybe the conversation just ends abruptly.

Male smarks hold an elite standing in the WWE fan community. What they say is gospel, and they are all knowing as though wrestling was made only for them. Women are reduced to being labeled as those that only watch because the males are attractive. Reduced to the ones that don’t actually understand the programming or booking, because they’re women and only watch for looks.

God forbid you, a woman, makes an extremely valid point against a male smark. Their argument changes, and they try to twist and turn it around so that you’re actually the one that misunderstood from the very beginning. Their arguments change so much even Donald Trump is astounded by the sheer bullshit they can pull from behind.

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Male Wrestling Fans Telling Women What Representation They Need Is Counterproductive (Part 1)

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I probably should preface this in some sort of way to avoid backlash of a bunch of male super fans having their feelings hurt. But, ya know, you don’t need to be coddled anymore. All I will say is that this pertains to WWE in particular, and does not cross into other promotions.

There’s a difference as a male fan between being a fan of women’s wrestling and wanting to support it, versus what will later be discussed. Being excited about women’s wrestling, wanting better matches for the division, that’s great! Thank you, I want that too.

This is of course the opposite of what’s more often observed: acting like a snob and indicating what needs to be done and telling other women what sort of representation they need in the promotion. Trust us, as female fans, we know exactly what kind of representation we want and don’t need to be told what we need.

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Please don’t tell us you’re so tired of seeing  the same matches over and over again whether they came from NXT or the main roster. I’d rather take an eight minute match of Charlotte vs. Natalya that’s been on NXT before versus a two minute Bella Twins match of the past where weaves were ripped out and screams were heard before the bell rang signifying the end of the “match”.

Men telling women what they need in the division and what should represent them is the same as going to someone of a culture that is not of your own and telling them the appropriate way to represent their culture. It’s a joke, it’s laughable, it screams of pure privilege and reeks of arrogance mixed with ignorance.

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Please don’t tell me that Charlotte’s not a strong part of the division, how she’s a poor representation to begin with, or how she can’t do anything and she’s not behaving as a heel. She’s playing the role of a villain, you aren’t meant to like her.

Don’t patronize us by saying when you chant for others during her match that it’s because she’s a heel. We all know that’s not the reason why: it’s because you’re being disrespectful and feel the need to hijack the show for your own absurd smark agenda. None of us believe that, especially since you don’t exhibit the same behavior towards other heels in the company like Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, or Kevin Owens.

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You speak over her because you don’t care: because she’s a woman, or because she’s not Sasha Banks. I would say to take your pick, but we all know that both are the reasons why.

Don’t cry for Sasha Banks during every single women’s match, then toss her to the side when you finally get her on screen. Some male wrestling fans often reflect the behavior of a spoiled child.

You finally get them the shiny new toy they’ve been crying over for weeks and after they hold it with their dirty little paws for only a moment–they toss it to the side and ask for a newer model.

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Male smarks throw their fists in the air proclaiming to the WWE “my great overlord make us care about women’s wrestling!”

Why should they make you care? Their job is to incite interest, whether or not they do that is separate from you wanting to care. You show your care by watching the match for the wrestling and entertainment aspects and giving your respect to the performer. Not by chanting over them to hijack the show, to asking for another performer because you’re not seeing the woman you want to see.

It seems that even if WWE were to follow up their women’s revolution with something amazing, male fans would still find reasons to cry or would make up their own.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. They stick their noses in the air, look down upon these female fans and proclaim: “this division is no good to you, here is what you need”.

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Do you know what I need? I need male wrestling fans to value my opinion. I need them to hold an educated conversation with me. If they don’t agree to end it on amicable terms rather than call me a bitch or say I’m stupid, because they don’t have an educated response. I need for male wrestling fans to understand they’re not always going to be correct on a subject. I need male wrestling fans to understand they will never know true women’s representation and what that should be because more often than not, they’ve never experienced what it feels like to be a woman, much less as one in a male dominated community.

I need male wrestling fans to dig deep, pry their heads out of their asses, and understand that no matter how many hours of indy women’s wrestling you watch and proclaim you’re a feminist, your argument goes out the window the second you insult my intelligence and scoff at the match on your television screen, only because it’s not who you want.

Oh, and the next time you tell me I only watch wrestling to look at the men? I’ll be happy to remind you that sports entertainment’s foundation is practically built on the male gaze and appealing to your interest in women. After all, you’re part of the reason why more models than athletes found their way into the division for some time. Or do you not recall your famous mud wrasslin’ matches?

Stay tuned for part 2: which will continue with the male fan vs female fan dynamic in the WWE Universe.

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