Protect The Business

Corbin Macklin


I have been thinking about a lot of things since the last time I submitted something. I have written so many drafts of things I wanted to say and then never hit send. One of the main things is, I hate what the internet is.

Right before the pandemic started causing people to lose their jobs and everything getting shut down, I made the decision to get off of Twitter, the last social media I bothered to actively participate in. I did this for my mental health and I can only imagine what it would have done to me if I had stayed and saw all the memes and jokes in poor taste along with the real time stream of consciousness of all of the people I follow and the butterfly effect of the likes and retweets.

Then, I eventually subscribed to YouTube because I got tired of the constant ad breaks during videos and at the time, Cobra Kai was exclusive on there. I binged the first two seasons in like a week. Everyone knows what it's like to be on the internet: if you DREAM about something much less talk about it or post on socials, all of a sudden every ad you see and every video recommended to you is related to that thing. So my YouTube feed was FULL of people giving their opinions of Cobra Kai. I did not watch one of those videos for one simple reason. I enjoyed Cobra Kai wholeheartedly and literally every video I saw was people saying negative things about the show and the characters and the writing.

Cobra Kai is not a perfect show. I'm not here to review the show or give spoilers, in fact in a paragraph I'll actually start talking about wrasslin, but I want to give you insight into my thoughts and feelings about why I haven't posted anything in a while. There is no such thing as a perfect show. There will be things you like and things you don't like. The problem is that people know consciously and unconsciously, that if they say something negative that will get signal boosted in a way positivity could never. This is why you read negative thoughts on social media all day, and every video on YouTube giving opinions on things is negative. That's what draws the most attention.

Ever since AEW came out, I have watched the IWC become increasingly negative about WWE and even the NXT they once loved. The WWE fanboys and fangirls say largely negative things about AEW. I remember excitedly telling my best friend about how AEW was about to be a thing and he was negative about it, saying that no one can compete with Vince. I told him that the biggest problem with WWE right now IS that they don't have any real competiton. To this day, the only effect seen from AEW existing was that wrestlers leveraged the potential that they could leave to get more money. If WWE saw AEW as real competition, the product would be much better.

That said: I have been enjoying the content WWE has put on the Network over the last year. I stopped watching the television shows many years ago because I foresaw myself getting burned out and stopping from being a fan altogether. I think that it's funny that you can find so many interviews and documentaries on WWE Network with people saying that WCW went out of business because Nitro became a three hour show and they started Thunder but now WWE has seven hours of television programming PLUS NXT UK, Main Event, 205 Live and the odd Network special in any given week. Wrestling fans of a certain age can remember feeling like they couldn't get enough content, and they couldn't wait for the next episode. Now, a smart fan is like me and avoids watching as much as possible, so there can be that anticipation for the next show.

I am looking forward to the Rumble. At the time I am moving these keys expeditiously, the Rumble airs tomorrow. To dovetail the point I was making earlier: when I'm on YouTube consuming wrestling content, all I see is people complaining about the booking of every two wrestlers and that they're revealing who will start number one, two and thirty and how back in the day you looked forward to finding out. I literally remember when they'd have matches to decide who 30 was or someone would be put at number one as a punishment. So, that is nothing new.

Something relatively new to wrestling is, if you're a wrestling fan and you spend ANY time on social media then you get spoilers constantly. You get all the negative opinion about how everything is going I think that all of this negativity is why so many people stop watching and no new fans are being created.

I started a new paragraph just for this: I am not saying that all the wrestling being put out right now is great or without issues. I am not saying it's wrestling fans fault that some fans quit being fans or no new fans join the ranks. I'm saying, negative opinion does influence people.

Think about it like this. Say there was a movie that just came out. You have not seen this movie. You are not particularly interested in that movie. But, you are the kind of person, who like most people, if you saw people saying "OMG IT WAS SO GOOOOOOOOOOD YOU HAVE TO GO SEE IT I HAVE GONE TO SEE IT FIVE TIMES" you would be likely to go see what the hype is about. On the flip, if you saw people saying how bad the movie is, how they hated the writing, none of the characters were interesting, the director and the producers are pieces of human trash who should be boiled in oil and sold for soap etc... you're probably not going to go see that movie.

Something I often think about is how throughout my life, there have been many people who hated me purely because someone else or a group of people they knew did. They didn't bother to actually talk to me or interact with me to see. The few friends I have made, were the people who did. That's the thing. Most people are fucking lazy and don't want to think or do anything for themselves. They will let someone else dictate their thoughts and actions for them.

In the wrestling community, how many stars Dave Meltzer gives a match matters. It does not matter one iota to me. I think for myself. Dave Meltzer's star ratings are HIS opinion. A lot of people that hated Roman Reigns did so because someone else hated him. People booed John Cena because that was the cool thing to do. I recently had the realization that in the days of Hulk Hogan, 30 million people were watching Saturday Night's Main Event. By the time we got to the Monday Night War, that audience was reduced to a third. Then, after Austin hugged McMahon, the audience shrank to below half of that. Now the audience is at levels Bryan Alvarez once mocked TNA for getting. And he can be heard saying that AEW getting three quarters of a million viewers "is a huge number".

If you have a following, if people enjoy reading or listening to you, you have a responsibility for telling those people to think positive thoughts about the business. Am I saying you should have no critiques or negative opinions? No. I'm saying we have to protect the business though. We have been polluting and damaging the business by exposing so much of it.

There was a time in wrestling where you could have a time limit draw finish in the main event of a pay per view and fans would be excited to get the next installment to see what would happen. Now fans expect decisive victors in every big match. Fans also expect everyone to be the biggest star and the top star to change every year. I digress. Disqualifications and countouts and things like that used to be tools a booker could use to get heat on a heel. Now, fans just take to socials to complain what shitty booking it is because we see through those finishes as transparent ways to prolong a feud.

I will say, to be fair, the idea of having a multi month program is outdated. I would prefer, for example, if the Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns program had ended after the TLC match where they did like 10 hospitalization angles that they got up from and then showed up on TV that week apparently suffering no ill effects. This exposes how bad the storytelling and progression is in modern wrestling. When I was a kid and young adult, I remember wrestlers would show up after particularly violent PPV matches bandaged and taped up and limping and cutting promos about what a war it was. I remember when, if a heel won a match because clearly, he had constant interference... they would ban the interfering party from ringside at the risk of suspension or something. Hang him above the ring in a shark cage. SOMETHING. They just did a cage match where Jey Uso AGAIN interfered constantly. I fully expect that at the Rumble. Jey might as well be IN the match for how much he will participate in the match.

I am enjoying the Roman Reigns heel character. It is ticking the boxes that went unticked when he was a babyface. It felt like his character was flat and without meaning. Now he is boldly claiming that he carries his family and the company on his back and that without him, no one is eating. I love it. What I don't love is that there will not be one babyface built up by this, and I fully expect that once he turns again, he will be a flat babyface with no apparent personality again. This heel turn has proven definitively we were always wrong. Yes WE. We were always wrong in saying promos were his weak point, this dude has Paul Heyman seeming reverse ancillary as fuck.

I think if WWE stopped having Roman beat people for several months straight you could get people over. See how I just criticized the product while also talking about what I liked and then stated what I think would make it better? Click on the odd article or video and that shit is literally "the booking sucks, Vince McMahon needs to step down, the wrestlers are all bitches for doing what they're told, everyone has heat backstage, this person is getting a push for like a week then getting buried, why can't everyone win the world championship at Mania every week brooooooooooooooo?"

I may have lost the plot with that last over exaggerated point, but I often watch wrestling and think things like "Yeah Ricochet can do a bunch of flips but he literally can't cut a promo and has no personality and the best thing he's done since he got there was cry on Raw Talk so why are people complaining he isn't one of the biggest stars in the promotion... methinks he is right about where he should be until he steps up his sports entertainment game" whereas most fans seem to bemoan the fact that names like Aleister Black aren't main eventing.

I am hating how much sentiment is growing that Bianca Belair needs to be pushed to the moon right now, for one, Rhea Ripley is the one that needs the big push at the moment that she is not getting because Charlotte, Asuka, Bayley, Sasha and Io are bigger priorities for the company and that is without Ronda or Becky in the picture. Right there: YOU LITERALLY CAN'T PUSH ALL THEM BITCHES AS CHAMPIONS WHILE THERE ARE ONLY THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND TWO TAG BELTS. I swear WWE can do a better job protecting the more talented talents while keeping them away from championship matches they're not going to win.

I just listened to Solomonster say that Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks is the money match he would like to see at Mania but he also thinks it's too soon for Banks to lose the belt. To that I say: it's much too soon for Belair to be in a Mania match for a belt. I don't even have someone in mind I'd like to see Sasha face. Dark horse: Becky comes back, wins the Rumble and challenges Banks. Boom. Anyway, I know that I don't want to see Bianca getting pushed to the top prematurely. You know why many fans resent wrestlers like Charlotte and Roman, aside from the perception that they only get the pushes they do because of their lineage? It's precisely because, to many fans, some wrestlers toil for decades to NEVER get a shot at a championship, while others seemingly show up and are gifted multiple reigns in a short period of time.

Literally in the past 5 years, Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss have combined for over 20 championship reigns. These women have a lot of fans, and have a lot of detractors who say they are overrated and overpushed. I miss when wrestling fans didn't know what a push was. Earlier I made a reference to how 30 million people were watching when WWE rarely was even on TV and it wasn't syndicated. Back then, you had a portion of that audience that hated Hogan and thought he couldn't wrestle and better workers than him should be the man.

WE are contributing to the fact that that audience has dwindled down to nothing BUT the hardcore fans who appreciate workrate above all else. Because we do not protect the business. It is ok for us to express valid criticisms like The Fiend character is too hokey and the no selling buries everyone he works with, that the current story with Orton and Alexa is cringe. That WWE would be better if they focused less on dream matches and the production values and just gave us reasons why people want to fight that we can get into. Et cetera, et cetera.

If you're reading this, there is someone you have loved that stopped loving you because someone they cared about hates on you. That's literally all it takes! Someone can go from loving you and seeing forever with you to never gonna happen just because someone else who doesn't even matter said different. We wrestling fans need to be mindful that if we constantly put the bad mouth on the business then that keeps other people from being interested.

I want to leave you with this. The more you love something, the more you understand what is wrong or needs to be fixed and you care so much. But. Do you really want to live with someone that is constantly criticizing you, or would you prefer a balance of them telling you how great you are and how much they love you and don't want to live without you, but by the same token they would like if you could work on a few things?