Have The Fans Ruined Professional Wrestling?
WrestleMania XXX, 2014. Credit: Sportskeedia

From the days of 'The Living Legend' Bruno Sammartino and Killer Kowalski, to the days of Hulk Hogan and 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase, all the way to the modern day of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, the so-called "WWE Universe" has had its favorites and its least favorites. However, since the days of The Rock and Triple H, the breakthrough of the web and dirtsheets has caused Pro Wrestling to lose all its former glory and excitement. Is that due to lack of TV originality or the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community)? Are the fans the ones to blame?

For many years, wrestling was regional and territorial. That is until Vince McMahon Jr. overtook his father's federation and transformed his vision into a reality. After years of dominating on the wrestling territorial map, Jim Crockett Promotions was ran out of business after the inaugural WrestleMania, when Vince McMahon started a revolution. He first took the top two talents from the AWA and NWA to lead his vision: Hulk Hogan and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Piper and Paul Orndorff would team up to take on Hogan and A-Team Star Mr. T, with "Ace" Bob Orton in Orndorff and Piper's side, and Snuka in Hogan's and T's. With all six being in the WWE Hall of Fame, one can only fathom the success of not only the match itself, but the first WrestleMania, the show that bid the end for the surviving territories.

Following a mediocre New Generation Era and Vince beating the federal government, competition finally arose from a company near-dead and in millions of dollars in debt in WCW when Eric Bischoff made it profitable. After forcing the WWE to up the ratings in 1997, we ushered in not only the Monday Night Wars, and but the Attitude Era. In a product that changed Pop Culture forever, you couldn't not walk down the street and see somebody in a DX or nWo shirt. But did it come with a price? Not only did it change the face of professional wrestling, but it also changed its fans too.

With the addition of the internet, over-saturation, and wrestling going back to PG, professional wrestling has lost all glory it once held so richly, now being referred to as fake, in which there is no greater insult to a wrestling fan. How exactly has the IWC ruined wrestling?

"There's no more surprises. Dirtsheets have turned, what was once magical, into a grimy business of who can spoil who first." ~Thomas James

Technology truly has come a long way since sliced bread and frozen pizza, including the addition of the internet. But with every major nerd group from Star Wars to the Walking Dead, there's some that hate the recent product. The largest and quite possibly the most diverse one is something often referred to as the IWC: The Internet Wrestling Community. 

Other than a select few, the IWC includes a vast majority of fans who tend to bash the WWE, TNA and what not, just for the sake of bashing it. The days of characters such as Val Venis or 'Sexual Chocolate' Mark Henry are long gone because of a politically correct society that we live in. You can't go on live TV and have a man fight a woman, or flip eighteen birds with Little Johnny watching at home. As Vince learned in 1996, you have to change with the times, and fans don't grasp it because it's what one fan wants. The IWC will bash anything, good or bad, except for their darlings on the Independent Scene, whether they can wrestle or not, and don't have an all round total package to be a pro wrestler. There are multiple ignorant rules in following the IWC, but that's a different story for a different day. 

The absolute worst thing about the IWC are the dirtsheets. These dirtsheets have "knowledgeable" wrestling fans working for them, who write about false news whether it makes sense or not with no evidence to back up their claim. Sometimes they're dead wrong, and sometimes they hit it farther out of the park than Chipper Jones. One thing WWE is, according to its fans, is "predictable". On taped shows such as Smackdown, these wrestling sites will give away the results. These sites will also give away potential pay-per-view returns or raw results, ruining any excitement for fans. It is so difficult to avoid them that the show is ruined for you, due to its lack of unpredictability. 

The lack of unpredictability could be a major reason behind the recent ratings decline, despite the fact that they currently write 3 to 4 shows a week and have written storylines for the last 52 and a half years. Past hit sitcoms such as Married With Children and Seinfeld wrote it per season for a lot shorter of a timespan, whilst even still losing their edge near the end. So, it should be somewhat understandable if from time to time WWE pulls a Three's Company and uses the same plot. Over-saturation will water down the product so much more than the IWC's excuse of it "being PG" (use the '80s as proof). The WWE has recently been increasing them slowly, as Reigns won the World Championship last week after superman-punching 70-year-old Vince McMahon. Be that as it may, some fans are still complaining after the best Raw of the year, as they turned the Philadelphia crowd that booed Reigns out of the building in January and destroyed his rental car into the same crowd the literally erupted as Reigns hit the spear on Sheamus for the win. The WWE's annual Royal Rumble event is coming up, where ratings go straight back up onto the road to the Granddaddy Of Them All, WrestleMania.

The internet has affected Pro Wrestling as a whole in a negative way, from crowds disrespecting the athletes putting their life on the line (I.E. the CM Punk chants) to the constant bashing of the show before giving it a true open-minded opportunity. It's ruined the excitement of a show in general with the breakthrough of the dirtsheet, as well as its over-saturation. As PG doesn't truly affect the story, it's safe to say that it's here to stay, and there's nothing the "smarks" can do about that. If those who pound the organizations continue to run rampant, WWE and TNA will continue to decline.