When we look back at 2011 one of the things that stands out the most in wrestling has to be the use of social media. Wrestlers were using it to elevate themselves (i.e. Zack Ryder) and pro wrestling companies were using it elevate their own status in social landscapes (i.e. the WWE).
In a way it was revolutionizing the industry as it was giving fans a different way to interact with wrestling companies and their wrestlers, it was something never seen before. While there were positives and strides in 2011 I believe that will all change in 2012.
Case in point how many times do I have to listen to Michael Cole talk about how the WWE is currently trending on twitter? Lets be honest it doesn’t mean a damn thing to you the wrestling fan nor some random person who doesn’t watch wrestling because ratings aren’t increasing once things start trending on twitter. If the “trending topics” WWE likes the jam down our throat on WWE TV helped improve the ratings then I would completely understand but they did not, instead it annoyed wrestling fans because it doesn’t mean anything.
Then you have wrestlers using social media to help their standing in the WWE and to get “noticed” by the creative team. Now I can’t blame wrestlers not currently being featured on television to use this outlet because you need to do the best you can to be elevated at your job. The only real success story from this has to be Zack Ryder who had a very popular YouTube show, a “cult-like” following amongst “internet fans” and it helped when the most popular wrestlers in the WWE like CM Punk & John Cena continue to drop your name. Zack Ryder was the only wrestler to achieve stardom from social media while others have failed.
From a WWE perspective there were other wrestlers who were starting to “copy cat” what Zack Ryder did to achieve what basically saved his job in 2011 and I can’t blame them for doing it because anyone would do the same thing to save their job, but the thing was people were noticing the “copy cat” approach to social media & garnering annoyance towards it.
Other wrestlers such as Ted DiBiase, Goldust and “The Midcard Mafia” consisting of Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Tyson Kidd & Drew McIntyre were doing the same thing Zack Ryder was doing to get noticed by the fans & hope to have that same “cult-like” following he garnered in 2011.
Ted DiBiase had his “DiBiase posse” and he’d meet with fans before events to have a BBQ, a cool concept but let’s be honest it seems a bit desperate from a wrestling fan perspective since DiBiase is the real-life son of “the million dollar man.” Would “The Million Dollar Man” really need to have a BBQ with the “common” people to get noticed? I don’t think so.
Then you have Goldust who has had his fair share of good moments & bad moments with social media. Currently he has led his own online petition to get himself a match at Wrestlemania 28 with his brother Cody Rhodes. While Goldust was amazing back in his heyday of the late-90s and early 2000’s I wouldn’t call a Goldust/Cody Rhodes match something I’d want to see at any PPV, let alone a Wrestlemania! It really seems desperate to me to have an online petition to get a pretty nice Wrestlemania payday.
Finally you have “The Midcard Mafia” consisting of young talents that are not being used correctly. They are very talented in the ring but it clearly appears that at least one of them could be “future endeavored” in 2012. Like Goldust & Ted DiBiase before them, the YouTube videos just appear to be desperation at best and the hope of getting noticed by a fanbase so they can have some “Zack Ryder luck.” It was when I saw these videos that I really felt like social media could backfire on the wrestling industry in 2012.
Like I said I fully am behind any person trying to keep their job but perspective from the outside is what’s most important. Zack Ryder was able to hit the star at just the right time, the other three I just spoke don’t appear to be having that same “social media” luck right now. Take for instance the talents outside of the WWE who try to use social media to the best of their advantage and still can’t get a job from the company.
Colt Cabana garnered a ton of attention shortly after the now famous “CM Punk promo” from June 2011 when Punk mentioned him on RAW and that alone has not been enough to get him his job back with the WWE. He did get a dark match tryout but that was it, nothing more. But besides all that Colt Cabana is the host of a very successful wrestling podcast and still cannot get a job with the company. Despite having a “colt-like” following (see what I did there) he still cannot get re-signed by the WWE proving that social media doesn’t always work in a wrestler’s favor.
Another wrestler who did what he could to get noticed by the WWE was Gregory Iron, a wrestler who despite having cerebral palsy still performs in the squared circle. On two separate occasions he garnered brief social media popularity after CM Punk (while he “left” the WWE for a couple days) showed up at an independent event to give him props and after he went to YouTube to get a petition going to be in the royal rumble. While you cannot knock his “hustle” it has still not helped him get a job with the WWE and his online petition to get in the rumble has silently died proving that social media can sometimes be your worst enemy.
We as wrestling fans can become some of the most opinionated groups of people in the entire world. One minute we can love a wrestler and the next we can despise them & while we don’t know it yet our views on social media are starting to change as we speak. It was “cool” to see Zack Ryder’s YouTube show & we really wanted to see his succeed and he most certainly has. But now that he’s on top the grumblings of how annoying his character can be on television are starting to develop…
The rise and fall of social media in 2012 may be one of the biggest stories come the end of this year.
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