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Don’t Call Yourself a Wrestling Fan

I feel like this should come with a disclaimer…. “don’t read if you have thin skin.”

I’ve been fuming about something for 3 days now. Sunday night, I was in attendance at the WWE Raw Live event at Wells Fargo when they announced that NXT would be coming to Des Moines on October 27th.  The crowd around me went pretty crazy. Luckily, my 8, 9 and 14 year old were with me, or else I would have let out a string of expletives to make even the most hardened wrestling fan blush.

Why?

Well, as most of you know and if you don’t, you read in Luke Raven’s column earlier, October 27th has turned out to be a popular day in regards to professional wrestling in Des Moines. I’m not going to beat the dead horse about how and why this took place (looking at you Revolver) I’m going to focus more on what’s really wrong with the big picture. And no, I don’t blame NXT.  I doubt Vince, Hunter or whomever, took a look at social media and said “hey, two Des Moines companies are running that night, let’s screw ’em.”

In my opinion, what’s wrong is the casual fan. There, I said it.

The casual wrestling fan who recognizes John Cena, Randy Orton, maybe even Seth Rollins (if they’re from Iowa) but thinks that Dwayne Johnson guy looks an awful lot like the Rock. I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. The casual fan that takes the kids every time WWE is in town, drops several hundred dollars on the tickets, drops a couple hundred more when he buys the Cena shirt and foam fingers and goes on their Facebook page to post an unflattering (or worse) picture of one of the women’s wrestlers to get a laugh out of their buddies.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand business, I get that THIS is the bread and butter of the WWE. It always has been. The people like myself, the people that run this site and many others I know are not the people that make up the majority of the revenue that WWE makes.  If you think otherwise, you’re wrong.  Any of you reading this over the age of 30, think about the nWo boom and the attitude era….how many of those people who were “4-life” are still watching the Bullet Club carry on the legacy?  I’ll give you a hint….very few.  The wrestling business is cyclical and today’s fans are not yesterday’s fans, period.

Oh, you still think this is about October 27th?  Well, it is and it isn’t.  I DO NOT BLAME ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO GO SEE NXT.  At all.  WWE puts on an amazing show at all levels.  I, myself won’t be there.  I will be spending time, per the request of my daughters, at both IPW and 3XW, meaning I’ll also be missing time at IPW and 3XW, which does make me sad, but is what is necessary to make the girls happy and why should they have to choose?

I look forward to seeing the attendance numbers from NXT. When they were here last year, I’ve seen reports of 1000-1500 people in attendance. I look forward to seeing those numbers because that means this article is directed at between 850 and 1400 of them.

Why, you ask? Because these same people have the ability to take their kids to see professional wrestling on a monthly, sometimes twice…heck sometimes three times in a month without having to drive more than an hour out of Des Moines (it gets even more fun if you’re willing to drive up to two hours, Algona IPW shows are awesome.) So where the heck are you then?   So many of you people who are so excited about NXT have never been to IPW, 3XW or CEW.

“But it’s not as good!!!”

Bullshit. Come to IPW on September 16th, watch AJ Smooth take on Connor Braxton and tell me it isn’t as good. If you say otherwise, you’re either lying, or you don’t know wrestling.

“The characters aren’t like they are on TV”

How would you know? Tell me JT Energy doesn’t have charisma. Tell me Chainsaw King isn’t mesmerizing.  Justin Decent scares even adults. Come to a show and hear the reaction that James Jeffries and Ryan Slade get from the kids (yes, plenty of kids) in attendance and tell me they don’t have characters that excite a crowd.

You know what’s better about these characters? You can walk up to Austin Fouts, Tyler Jones or Xander Killen and give them a hug and take a picture at intermission. Midwest Blood will personalize your picture, even if it is to tell you they (jokingly) hate you.

At WWE, you can go buy a John Cena picture for thirty bucks. Oh and you don’t get to meet him.

“But the athleticism…”

Shut up. Seriously.  Stop reading, click this link, watch the F.F.C. take on the Legend Killers in a cage and then come back and talk to me about athleticism.

My issue doesn’t lie with people that won’t be at IPW or 3XW on the 27th.  It really doesn’t. Unfortunately for both companies, I expect the attendance to be lighter than normal.  I truly hope I’m wrong. A couple hundred people that choose to go to one of the local shows instead of NXT could affect either local company in a greatly positive way…a couple hundred less people at NXT….meh, they won’t even know. My issue lies with the people that will be at NXT, but won’t be at IPW on September 16th.  They’ll complain about not having wrestling in town “as much as we used to” but they’ll pay no attention to 3XW running two days at the Latino Heritage Festival. They’ll talk about how big of a wrestling fan they are, but they won’t bat an eye at the CEW show on September 30th, the November IPW show or the 3XW show at the beginning of December.

It’s sad, truly. It is sad for the companies, it is sad for the performers.

I challenge everyone reading this article…..nah, let’s be honest, this is a rant, to find one friend that is considered a “casual fan” and bring them to one of the local shows. Maybe the responsibility lies in us, the “die hards” to be the ones that make a difference. If they don’t like it, they can come tell me why, I’ll be the guy with a camera at ringside.

If they do like it, I don’t need to know, I’ll see it from the new faces and larger crowds.

By

Chris Manning

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