Things have gotten out of hand in the nearly two weeks since I wrote my last blog post. DC is still shut down from the blizzard, so I’ve had a lot of time to be on Twitter as well as watching old Rumble matches in preparation for yesterday’s PPV. I really appreciate all of the positive feedback I got on my thoughts as I made my way through 18 of the 28 Rumbles – y’all are too kind.
Most of you.
Some people were heard complaining that the Royal Rumble is an outdated or boring gimmick, with no place in contemporary professional wrestling. I saw a lot of tweets that people weren’t excited to watch because they knew what would happen. I think what they meant was that they knew the finish. Surely they didn’t know the intricacies of the entire match, and managed to boil down the excitement and significance of an hour long match into the last two minutes. These people should feel free to continue being the type of individuals for whom nothing is ever good enough, and really wonderful things can be spoiled by the smallest unpleasantry. Best of luck in life.
Some of the people waited until the actual PPV started and came at me about my Ambrose fandom. Yes, I am a Dean Ambrose fan. Yes, I have been unhappy with his character lately. Yes, I was extremely invested in the Last Man Standing match for the Intercontinental Championship. Even though my expectation (based on my, let’s face it, limited knowledge of how wrestling booking works) was that Kevin Owens would win, I was ecstatic to see Ambrose triumph. I was even more pleased to see him in the final two of the Rumble match, alongside Triple H. Do I think the version of Ambrose who crosses himself when he wins a title is my Ambrose? No. My Ambrose is the one who started the 2014 Hell in a Cell main event match against Seth Rollins on top of the structure. My Ambrose is more Moxley, but I want him to do well because he’s my favorite. That doesn’t make me fair-weather, or wishy-washy. If you are incapable of being flexible and enjoying the ride as your favorite wrestling character ebbs and flows, as they navigate the rollercoaster of their career, then you should do yourself a favor and get as far away as humanly possibly from professional wrestling. Do it now.
Some Twitter users seemingly exploded with glee when I went off on the Ric Flair/Becky Lynch kiss. There are people who take a great deal of pleasure in further rustling your already sufficiently-upset feathers – these people are called “Trolls”. Some of the people who ended up in my mentions really disagreed with me – those people should feel free to unfollow me. Some of them, however, just wanted to see how far they could push me before I exploded. So I had to slam on the brakes and just lay it all out there:
This isn’t my “über feminazi” side showing through. This isn’t me being overly PC. This isn’t even about being too sensitive (what the hell does that even mean?) This is about a stupid, pointless booking decision that made a large portion of the audience feel uncomfortable with absolutely no pay-off. When WWE did the Reid Flair storyline with Charlotte and Paige you could MAYBE (and this is a big maybe) argue that at least they got sizable media attention from all the heat. But it was still gross and bad, because it’s real (and we all know it’s real) and wrestling isn’t. What makes this incident so egregious is that there has always been a sense in the community that Ric Flair has a wandering eye; that it would wander to his daughter’s ex-best friend, a woman 38 years his junior who has in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY invited his advances is disturbing. Maybe Flair is the schmoozing promo-cutter, maybe he is the dirtiest player in the game, but neither are appropriate here. Are you suggesting that Flair is a hapless, drunken old pervert, or are you suggesting that he is a vicious, aggressive rapist? Regardless, are either of these suggestions that belong in a product that is supposed to be considered TV-PG? Of course not. They will likely never discuss it again (it didn’t come up on RAW, Flair stayed at the top of the ramp when Charlotte ran in to break up the Becky/Sasha Banks match) and poor Becky will have had to subject herself to that for no reason.
Speaking of RAW, some of you called me a turncoat for waking up to the reality that The Rock is a bullying, disgusting character that I wish Dwayne Johnson would put down like a ten-ton sack of shit and walk away from forever. Being a conniving smooth talker is fine – I like Paul Heyman. Being an unapologetic dick is also fine – I like Kevin Owens. Being a clown in a unicorn horn is even tolerable. But watching one of the most successful people in the world return to the place that made him a star and start running his mouth like nothing he says has consequences makes me wish he’d stay away forever. Rock’s 25 minute promo made my skin crawl. I wanted to change the channel, but I wasn’t the only person watching it in my house. I thought I was a Rock fan. He was never really around when I watched all those years ago. He wasn’t on SmackDown when I was watching and I never caught RAW back then. When I returned to the product in 2013, Wrestlemania was already over and I’d missed him. I caught him the few times he was on WWE TV since I came back, but it was always a short, focused (in Lana & Rusev’s vile) attack on someone and then he was gone again. I felt unprepared for how repugnant he is, and want him off my TV as quickly as possible. You should feel free to disagree with this opinion, but you should also know that the Earth is, indeed, round. Society is changing, evolving, and people aren’t tolerating nonsensical prejudice and hate-speak anymore. Not even from fictionalized television characters. If you want so badly to relive the Attitude Era, you can do so whenever you choose on the WWE Network. That time is over, and I don’t want even the slightest trace of it in WWE programming today.
And then, some of you people are the actual problem – the top of the food chain-type heinous villains. When RAW started and Triple H joined Vince and Stephanie out in the ring, I was thoroughly enjoying the nuclear heat that he got by saying he was going to keep the WWE World Heavyweight Title as long as he wanted, because he’s the COO and he can. Until, of course, I realized that what he was saying was completely true and completely poisonous to the entire company. I have been saying for a long time (and hearing it from others as well) that the main issue with last year’s Rumble match being won by Roman Reigns was with WWE creative and not the wrestler himself. If we all know Vince and Triple H make the decisions, and their on-screen characters are heels, then anyone they decide to push should also be a heel. So if Reigns is getting the push and wins the Rumble, he’s The Authority’s chosen one and deserves to be booed. It’s a vicious cycle that was masterminded by the perpetuation of The Authority as kayfabe storyline characters. If we never saw Stephanie (which would be a shame) or Triple H on TV anymore and let the heels and babyfaces have no on-screen interaction with the business side of WWE, we could maybe start viewing them in a more clear way. Instead, we’re forced into this weird fiction/non-fiction cycle controlled entirely by the people in charge. If they really want us to stop getting on the internet and pretending we know how they’re going to book the show, maybe they should stop showing us how they do it. Imagine if the head writer of your favorite TV show wrote themselves into the story as the main villain. Good luck unraveling the knot that comes of crossing reality with fabrication. Not only is it confusing and infuriating, it makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the program. Now I loved watching Royal Rumble. But none of the matches the proceeded the actual Rumble had anything to do with the Authority. It wasn’t until the Rumble itself happened that we were reminded the real Big Bad of WWE isn’t Brock Lesnar – it’s Vince.
So to all of these people, know this: you are not going to ruin this thing that I love, not for me and not for my friends. We are not going to let you. I will wait in the tall grass for all of you, because it’s people like you who are killing professional wrestling.