Ever since I fell in love with professional wrestling in 1998, I was drawn to everything about it: The lights, the crowd, the pageantry, the stories, but what I was especially intrigued about was the mystique behind the wrestlers performing in that very ring. Who were these men? What did they do? What led them to be professional wrestlers? Fast forward to 2011 and that mystique is nearly non-existent.
With the advent of the internet, social media and new technology, the once hidden world of professional wrestling is now exposed for all eyes to see at the touch of a few keys. Has this been a step forward for wrestling or has it been two steps back? Are wrestlers more relatable now in 2011? Is Social Media hurting or helping professional wrestling?
Here are some effects social media has had on the professional wrestling business:
Con: The Death of Wrestling Magazines– Since the internet wrestling journalism has changed. No longer are the days of kayfabe magazine and Bill Apter or PWI. Wrestling magazines have taken a hit in their readership. I remember when I was a kid and I would be excited to see the PWI 500 and read about wrestlers I didn’t know much about. I would be able to learn about independents in my areas and read exciting in character articles about wrestlers in the WWE. Now that the internet is here, no one wants to read about stuff in storyline.
WWE.com has taken care of that now, and by the time the magazines get a story out, its news is old news. The internet is immediate while the magazines run monthly. I wish these magazines could come back to where they once were and educate a whole new generation of readers about wrestling. Why not have a magazine that comes out every week and is like the New Yorker, or Time magazine. If People magazine can come out weekly, why can’t a weekly wrestling magazine be made?
I used to recall older magazines having eye catching pictures that made you want to read it, but now all the magazines look like a big scrap book of pictures taken by whomever. The wrestling magazine product has suffered and I miss it. Articles should be written by people who have graduated college or have a journalistic sense about them. The internet has killed magazines wrestling fans, leaving them to read critical opinions and rants from people who just want to complain a lot. I want my magazines back! You killed them internet!
Pro: Wrestling, Wrestling Everywhere– With the creation of YouTube, fans can watch any match they want. From classics, to things they miss on television that week, to promotions they might not see every day, to territories, it’s all there. For me I get to relive matches I watched as a child and it takes me back to when I was a fan sitting in Madison Square Garden. It takes me back to being excited again. The internet has made matches available that I might not have seen regularly this is a major positive.
Con: Wrestling Piracy– With all of these matches everywhere, promotions lose out on money they could use to thrive and gain fans, when people take their matches and put them up for download. WWE can survive this piracy due to being a multimillion dollar conglomerate, but what about promotions that needs extra money to stay afloat? Promotions like EVOLVE, CHIKARA, DGUSA, PWG, etc. People mean well and want to show people wrestling they may not have seen before but this piracy is killing the independents.
ROH used to thrive on their DVD sales but with piracy I don’t think they make the same number of sales that they used to. EVOLVE tries to use the same model but when you cater to internet fans they know how to get stuff for free, making it harder for them to give money from their wallets. With new technology going into 2012, it’s going to be harder for independents to gain revenue from video sales. Perhaps video on demand streaming is the next step in keeping those sales afloat.
Pro: Easier Access to wrestlers– Since social media and twitter has been evident it has been a lot easier to talk to your favorite wrestlers and tell them you appreciate your work. For me this was a positive, being a wrestling journalist at 15 going to local shows to interview these guys. All I have interviewed have been very kind and I wouldn’t have done that without email or Facebook. The internet has helped me here and this is a very big pro. Wrestlers can keep in touch with their fans and update them on their lives in wrestling.
Con: Easier Access to wrestlers – Yes, I put this twice because some things in wrestler’s private lives should not be shared with wrestling fans. What can help an image in wrestling, can also hurt it. Twitter and Facebook, if used wrong could make a wrestler or wrestling personality seem annoying. Just like in real life when you see people complain on Facebook or say stupid things you want to delete them or confront them for being annoying. I do not need to have updates with lame quotes or song lyrics so why do I need to see this in wrestling social media. I want to see Facebook and twitter with wrestlers being in character. Social media could be used to enhance feuds and develop characters. Why not post promos and vignettes in character instead of complaining. So wrestlers reading choose your words wisely when making your next status or tweet!
Pro and Con: Fans can have a voice– With Social Media and internet forums and websites, fans can say who they like the most. They can say who they think should break out. Zack Ryder has used this to his advantage by being in touch with his fans and working hard to be seen. Fans can use twitter to make someone trend and be popular very quickly. This transcends to shows and fans can use their voice in a positive way. Just look at Madison Square Garden shows or when ECW was around the Hammerstein shows. A lot of those fans knew what they wanted. They used the internet to their advantage and their voices are heard.
Fans have used the internet as a tool to become trolls. They watch everything then complain about it, then say they boycott it , then watch it anyway just to complain. I want these people to stop criticizing and to start focusing on the positive. Yes there are things in wrestling people don’t like but there are other ways to criticize it instead of being negative. It’s negativity like that, that will keep wrestling in the recession that it’s in. Be Positive!
This is what the internet has done to us as wrestling fans. Whether positive or negative , it is here to stay and evolve the wrestling experience. If you guys have any that I forgot or that affect you personally email me @ [email protected]. I hope to hear your positive or negative comments. So when you use your internet connection to talk wrestling use it wisely so that internet fans can have a better influence in the wrestling world.