Originally, I intended to write a detailed article about the live event experience of Extreme Rules, last night’s pay-per-view from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. I planned to compare the WWE Network viewing to the live show and I’m sure some of what was broadcast through television was rather bland, but in-person seemed better. There are certainly interesting differences when you go to a live show. I hadn’t been to a live WWE event in nearly five years so I was looking forward to writing something unique as opposed to the usually post-PPV article. I enjoyed most of the show and would’ve had a favorable review.
However, the main event, a 30-minute iron man match with Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler, changed what I’m going to write about Extreme Rules.
The 30-minute match gave the two stellar athletes enough time to deliver a contest that was expected to steal the show, especially considering the quality of their two previous bouts on Raw. But, instead of that, this bout summed up why wrestling fans often ruin wrestling in the modern era. While the countdown clock on the video screen showed the progress of the match, the majority of the fans in attendance waited for the ten-second mark each time the minutes ticked down and counted along to be able to make a siren noise to imitate the Royal Rumble clock. So, every fifty seconds most of the audience would repeat this process without following any of the action in the ring.
When there are two of the best athletes on the roster in the ring with enough time to deliver a classic, why exactly was the audience watching the countdown clock? Those that paid to buy tickets to the event would rather watch the clock than the action in the ring? As I sat there trying to watch the main event, I just shook my head as the building echoed the repetitive countdown, and again wondered why that somehow took priority ahead of the action in the squared circle. It undoubtedly took away from the match because Ziggler had to use five minutes of rest holds to try to get control of the situation, and when the clock was taken off of the screen, the crowd was more concerned with the countdown than the wrestlers they paid to watch.
To be completely clear, yes, if someone buys a ticket, they certainly have the right to cheer for whatever they want, including the countdown clock. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be criticized for the foolishness. Quite frankly, the knuckleheads that wanted to play count along ruined what could’ve been a classic match, because even those watching on the WWE Network heard the countdown chants that took away from the contest.
Instead of the Rollins/Ziggler Iron Man match being called a possible classic, it will be known as the match where the fans counted the entire time. Again, anyone that buys a ticket certainly has the right to do it, but that doesn’t make it smart or the “cool thing” for an audience to do during a main event. Are there matches that deserve rejection? Sure, but in this situation, and more often in recent years, audiences would try to get noticed for random chants than actually watch the product they paid for at the show.
Too often, fans want to say, “hey, look we’re at a wrestling show” when the reality is, the audience isn’t the show, and fans shouldn’t be there to try to make themselves known on social media. Not every fan that goes to a wrestling show deserves some type of social media validation, but that seems to be the goal for those in attendance on a regular basis in the modern era.
The bottom line is, the wrestlers tell the fans the story, and the audience shouldn’t be able to dictate the story to the performers. If the fans are that discontent with the product that they don’t want to watch the match in the ring then maybe they should pick another hobby. Attempting to ruin a main event just so they can tweet about it after the show doesn’t make them diehard fans, it makes them look silly for trying to make the show about themselves. The people watching on the WWE Network don’t care what the dude dressed as a shady looking Hulk Hogan wearing a replica belt in the fifth row thinks about the main event.
The problem is, these attention-seeking chants have become trendy or something that “cool fans” do at pay-per-views when in reality it just seems foolish. Unfortunately, the emphasis on some of the post-WM Raw shenanigans have unintentionally encouraged this type of response more often in the modern era and it seems like it will continue in the future.
What exactly is the goal for the fans that attempt to hijack shows with random chants? Are they attempting to “prove a point” to management? Here’s a reality check on the point that really matters, Vince McMahon got their money when they bought tickets to the event and he will get their money again when they subscribe to the network so they can complain about pay-per-views on social media. So, the fans can try to get themselves noticed when they count along with the clock, and Vince will count the money he made from the event.
More than anything, it would be nice if current fans were actually fans of the product instead of trying to be fans of themselves.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
E mail email@example.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta
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