Monday, 18 April 2011

Apparently I'm No Longer A Wrestling Fan

According to Vince McMahon, I’m not the person I thought I was.

I came upon this realisation a efew weeks ago. A few weeks ago, when TV Week announced that Drew Carey was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame they got into quite an argument with WWE’s public relations department. Apparently WWE didn’t like it because the TV Week headline read “Drew Carey Being Inducted into Wrestling Hall of Fame”.

Then last week I saw a list of terms WWE have banned. These include the words sports, athletes, fight fighter, and most importantly, wrestling and wrestlers.

Yep, you’ve read that correctly. In case you haven’t heard this news before, I’ll say it again. World Wrestling Entertainment, the company that produces an annual show called Wrestlemania has now banned the words wrestling and wrestlers.

To be honest I find this a little insulting. I grew up watching wrestling on the old World of Sport show way back in the 70’s. I saw men who would go on to become household names in America and around the world, men like Davey Boy Smith, the Dynamite Kid, Chris Adams, the first Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Kamala, Owen Hart and many, many more.

I got hooked because I liked watching people wrestle. Although I viewed it as another form of entertainment I watched it because I liked watching wrestlers wrestle.

When British wrestling was removed from our television screens in 1988 I moved on, one year later, to watching men like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, the Ultimate Warrior, and many, many more.

I stayed loyal to Vince McMahon and his company, even when they took a pounding from WCW in the mid-nineties, and when they offered us such crap as the Katie Vick saga, the poorly-booked Invasion angle, Mae Young giving birth to a hand. Need I go on?

I watched countless hours of television shows, read countless magazines and books, brought countless VHS videos and DVDs, and although I no longer go out of the way to get a weekly dose of Raw and Smackdown I always watch the monthly pay-per-views, and I always look for the latest news on a daily basis.

But now the company that made it’s billions by putting on wrestling shows no longer wants to be known as a wrestling company. Their wrestlers are no longer known as wrestlers, or even sports entertainers. They’re now known as “entertainers with tremendous athletic prowess”.

Now I’m all for wrestlers seeking other ways of making a living. After all, if Roddy Piper hadn’t done this we would never have had “They Live”. But can someone please tell me that this is a joke. Vince McMahon is taking the piss, isn’t he?

So what happens now when a young boy or girl watches WWE and marvels at what’s going on in front of them. Do they turn to their parents and say “when I grow up I want to be an entertainer with tremendous athletic prowess”?

Men and women spend thousands of hours honing their craft because they want to become wrestlers. Millions of people around the world became fans because they liked watching wrestling.

So please, Vince, stop insulting our intelligence. We wrestling fans have a hard enough time for being wrestling fans in the first place. Stop telling us what we should and should be.

Besides, saying “I’m a wrestling fan” sounds a whole lot better than saying “I’m a fan of entertainers with tremendous athletic prowess”.