The “True” Wrestling Fans: Cause for Divide in the Pursuit of Validation

Discussion in 'General WWE' started by Legit Boss, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. this is an amazing article by Zak Fellows of about real wrestling fans and how they affect wrestling, also discusses Eva Marie's skills.

    The “True” Wrestling Fans: Cause for Divide in the Pursuit of Validation

    Naturally, it is in our human nature to have differing mind sets and mentalities based on the thoughts and opinions that make us unique and a voice to be heard in any discussion.

    We, as fans, are united by our common interests.

    Even if we are generally split into what type of fan we are, based on our frequency of viewerships, there is still that common link that ultimately unites us. It could be a specific show, wrestler or style of wrestling storytelling and product that we share our opinions with. However, while it is in our nature to find points of harmony and coexistence naturally there will be those who seek points of contention… thus enters the “True/Real” wrestling fans.

    Often times, among the IWC, we will see someone use the words “true” and “real” during an argument. For example, “only real wrestling fans will truly appreciate the talent of Damien Sandow” or something along those lines, as if a certain storyline or wrestler is only meant to be acknowledged and enjoyed by certain people. Now, those claims I am not a big supporter of because, and I fully realize that this is mostly rooted in generalization, in my opinion it serves as an unnecessary attempt to validate a point made in a discussion or an argument while at the same time presenting a form of imaginary superiority.

    This “Real Wrestling Fan” is a problem among our own IWC and it needs to be addressed to ensure a more welcoming and healthy environment to fan bases.


    Of course, the distinction that often arises when people bring this argument up is the age oldCasual vs. Hardcore and which is more important (BOTH!). Even with different viewing habits, fans still have that point of coherence via their common interest. That is the beauty of professional wrestling as a medium in that it has never been so self-absorbed in its own universe that it doesn’t alienate potential new viewers, if the product is good mind. You can pick up and watch wrestling and get the basic idea of it pretty quickly.

    So fans are united in their fan base. But, unfortunately among the more lively and passionate of fan bases emerges an inherent investment in their own fandom. Derived from personal experience, a fan will find a point of contention within their own fan base such as band wagon jumping, those who are too sensitive and uncomprehending of any fair criticism (You can be a member of a fan base and still criticize it’s how you improve) or considering themselves a long-time fan to the point that they feel a special, insurmountable attachment. All of a sudden, that harmonious fan base becomes fractured into different camps that, while still sharing that interest, are split up into what their main belief in that fandom is.

    For the benefit of example: CM Punk’s 2011 main event push. New fans were drawn to him for the reasons people had originally been drawn towards him and those fans become united by that shared interest. But then, the long-time fans would present themselves as superior because they knew Punk longer and have a certain level of attachment to him and like a domino effect: the fan base still shares an interest but is not in collusion.

    THIS is where a divide emerges from fans who are so engrossed into their own fandom and the “REAL” wrestling fan argument helps intensify that fractured fan base. The WWE YouTube page, in particular, is slowly becoming notorious in its over-saturation of people who if they see someone praising John Cena, Roman Reigns or anybody else not considered to be “IWC favorites” they will hound that poor soul like there is no tomorrow calling them not a “Real” fan.


    Thus, the “real” wrestling fan not only creates a divide between fans of common interests but also serves as a form of self-indulgent nerd elitism, to speak rather bluntly.

    Perhaps though, the “REAL” wrestling fan argument stems more from what we, as long-time members of the IWC, have come to associate with the most common stereotype of a hardcore wrestling fan. The “REAL” wrestling fan discourse derives from what we consider to be the stereotype as often times, the wrestlers receiving the most support from those fans are, but not limited to, those:

      • Not in a position of immediate prominence (Not in a title match, not in a frequent position).
      • Outside of the template that a promotion often steers towards (WWE looks towards bigger guys for example).
      • Not tied too closely to a wrestling family (nepotism).
    My inherent problem with the stereotype of the “REAL” wrestling fan and the application of its ideals is that the interests of the stereotype are just that…stereotypical. One recent example, that kind of ultimately spawned this article, is Eva Marie.

    Now, I like Eva Marie. I guess the best I can say about her in the past is that I’ve been unoffended by her and find her willingness to improve admirable. Recently, with this return to coward but center of attention heel character, I have been legitimately enjoying her. However, she is not of the template that the diehard fan imagines because she didn’t grow up with the intention of joining the WWE and isn’t of the work ethic of any other heel woman in the eyes of the fans.


    Thus, she has been the product of those dismissing her liking of her and her recent direction as not a “real fan”. This is not to say that people have to be fans of Eva Marie, it’s that the outright dismissal of those who enjoy her serves as a point of divide that conclusively aggravates me.

    While the talk of “this makes you a real fan” can, in some regards, be considered useful for discovering new content to become attached to, in some cases it tries to recommend what a fan, personally, may have a lack of interest of investment in. From personal experience, fans still recommend Impact Wrestling and go to the extent of saying you are not a “real” fan if you don’t support TNA. With that said, and while I can totally understand that to some TNA was, and still is, something to enjoy: after close to 10 years of shoddy booking, constant disappointment and an overwhelming stigma that it has managed to cultivate incredibly fast…why would you give this promotion another chance? Just so you can be called a “true” fan?

    It’s OK to be a devoted fan of wrestling or whatever product of pass time you choose to invest yourself in. But the whole idea that, to be considered a part of a minority of what a group of people consider “True” fans you have to follow these people, like these shows and hate these things just serves as a lack of encouragement of accepting and finding our own personal points of contention and harmony with our wrestling opinions.

    If you like a certain wrestler, it’s because you enjoy what they give to you and find yourself going back to them, it shouldn’t be because it makes you look good and correct in the eyes of other people.

    We do not need validation to enjoy what we enjoy and being a casual viewer does not make you any less important so leave them alone.

    Tell me your opinions in the comments!.

    • Like Like x 1
  2. Eve Marie gives me a boner
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Most Internet wrestling fans couldn't even lace my boots :4/10:
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. Like wrestling, let others do the same and shut up.
    Being a casual fan or not really doesn't matter, like at all.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Ofc Legit Boss agrees with this.

    Anywho, smarks are utter pieces of shit. They ruin the product for virtually everyone.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. It's just like any other debate: Stop being a dick, dick.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Idk what you just wrote, but I don't like you right now.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Skimmed through the OP, but there's no such thing as a "real"/"true" fan.


    @Majour put it best: 'Being a casual fan or not really doesn't matter, like at all.'
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. This is off topic, but I've been curious:
    If you're getting a new fan into wrestling, what would you show them?

    Mods feel free to yell and say "dafuq are you doing snow make a thread"
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Snow, frig off and go make an actual thread about it! No need to derail this one.


    • Like Like x 1
  11. But this forum works better when trains are running into walls! :why: We need all the derailment we can get!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Final warning, Snow::ban:
  13. #13 Snowman, Aug 15, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016

    Yeah... Uhh true wrestling fans are mean and stuff!
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. True wrestling fans are a cross between every form of asshole you can imagine. I, personally, wake up seething and hate anything to do with WWE today.

    Nah, but seriously, I do find some people that go back and forth on here. One minute they hate everything the WWE is doing and complain about the lack of talent push, then they complain when they do it.
  15. Hart vs Austin rivalry and match from Manka
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Great article. It kind of puts into perspective how we fans work in a way.

    But I guess in the end we all have to learn to respect each other's opinions of all types of fans.

    Show Spoiler
    Oh wait, this is the wrestling community, so I doubt that it will ever happen...
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. Like this, it's perfect. But reminds me of a quote you made before.
    "Show them the Austin/Rock buildup and just say "This is why I love wrestling, but it'll never get this good again lol"

    To Edge4Ever though, there's a lot of stuff we kinda take for granted. We can't rip a bunch of DQ's then not appreciate a PPV with clean finishes.
    There's too much that goes into a Raw segment. Is it entertaining, is a match good (subjective), does it build for a PPV match, does it set something else up down the line for a character, does it establish one... etc.
    I've been that guy way more times than I can count, and Leo once said I was bending over backwards trying to be positive. It's actually a good way to look at things...
    ...dare I say, how to be a "true" wrestling fan. ;)
  18. The designation, whether granted or self imposed, of "true" or "real" wrestling fan is completely meaningless to anyone other than the person using it. People will completely define in their own terms what it means to be a "true" wrestling fan for one reason only: because it is a subjective measure and that is how subjective measures work.

    I honestly don't think this article makes any practical point. It in fact makes the same argument it is arguing against. It is saying that internet fans cannot define what a "true" or "real" wrestling fan is but the pure fact is that they can because it's a subjective measure. But, again, that definition is meaningless to anyone other than the person describing it.

    I don't think wrestling having a "fractured" fan base is actually a bad thing. The entire basis of wrestling is conflict. Wrestling needs conflict in order to exist. The wrestlers fighting is conflict. The reasons the wrestlers fight is conflict. Wrestling fans, like any other sports fans, have conflict with each other. We disagree with our friends as we watch the shows. We disagree with fans when we are at the arenas. We DEFINITELY disagree with each other when we talk about wrestling on the internet. The so called "fractured" fan base is one of the things that drives the industry.

    Those arguments on YouTube, those arguments on the internet and those very arguments on WWEForums may fuel the divide of a fractured fan base, BUT they drive the lifeblood of this industry. Our disagreements about Roman Reigns make what happens with Roman Reigns more interesting. Those people who HATE John Cena fans as well as those John Cena fans who are pissed and confused as to why he is so hated... those conflicts NEED to exist. Those fans who call each other names and insult other fans and criticize whether they are "real" wrestling fans add fire to a business based completely on conflict. They are necessary for this business to thrive.

    If we put aside our conflicts on the internet, including which of us are "true" or "real" fans, then wrestling's presence on the internet, and likely wrestling itself, would be pretty damn boring in my opinion.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. You realize you kinda proved the OP right with a blanket statement like that.

    Anyway, the biggest problem are the people who aggressively oppose whatever's being pushed to the top because they think they can get attention that way. I like to call them hipster nerds.