I’ve been listening to the Steve Austin Show a lot lately, not just because Steve welcomes in some interesting people to chat with, not just because it’s a hell of a podcast, but mainly because I’m a wrestling fan. That seems like a pretty obvious statement, being that I watch wrestling and I write for a couple wrestling websites, but it’s something I feel needs stressing lately. You may be wondering exactly how I tie in my opening to the wrestling on television, well read on and it will become completely clear. If you’ve grown up watching the business then you likely love it and will continue to watch until the day one of you die, you or the business. The biggest problem I see lately though is that we have far too few REAL wrestling fans left in the world and way too many “fanboys” around these days. Believe me when I tell you there is a MASSIVE difference between the two descriptions.
The last couple weeks we’ve had promos from Daniel Bryan about the fact that he’s a WRESTLER, not an entertainer. This is very true, and his statement about Cena not being a wrestler but being an entertainer could very well be shown to be true as well, to an extent. The thing with this feud is it’s much deeper than just Daniel Bryan versus John Cena, if you’re willing to look beyond the surface. In Daniel Bryan we have the “wrestler,” the guy who will work ANYWHERE because this is a sport her loves, even if it’s just in front of 50 people in a gym. Cena represents the “entertainer,” the person who wants to be famous, and can’t imagine lowering themselves to the level of anything other than a massive area show. Some would compare this to the battle between TNA and WWE fans over who has the better show, I don’t quite see it that way but I can understand why some would.
Steve Austin has stated over and over on his show that he loves wrestling, plain and simple, it doesn’t matter what company it is, he just flat out loves wrestling. On a previous show he admitted to something very few wrestling fan would admit to, something I can proudly admit to as well, he loved wrestling so much that he actually loved watching G.L.O.W., the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, back in the day. If you don’t remember this, no matter if it’s because of age or ignorance, you need to go back and watch some of the work. While it’s admittedly cheesy at times, it’s still WRESTLING. It had characters, something we are slowly starting to see return, and it had solid ring work. One of their stars, Tina Ferrari, became known to the WWE audience as Ivory, one of the most respected women in the business. If you love wrestling, you’ll watch it, no matter where you can get it; this has been my way of thinking as long as I can remember.
My biggest complaint about the typical “wrestling fan” these days is that they’re either casual fans or they’re a fanboy who only watches one company and talks trash about anything else out there. The reason the Monday Night Wars worked out so well is because true wrestling fans were watching, they watched WCW and WWE, not one or the other. I can’t count how many Monday nights were spent with my dad, my brother, or myself flipping between Raw and Nitro trying to make sure not to miss a moment of either, because we loved it that much. The reason this isn’t happening with TNA and WWE is simple, the “fans” want to pick sides before the battle is able to begin. People either watch TNA and talk trash about everything WWE, or watch WWE and trash everything TNA related. I will admit I’ve not watched TNA a lot, but I am trying to pick up on them finally. The reason being, I’m finally embracing that deep rooted wrestling fan inside me once again. The reason I don’t think you can compare this to Bryan versus Cena is because Daniel Bryan represents more than just “some other company,” he represents the business as a whole. Cena represents TNA as well as WWE as the top companies, and how people either love or hate them, because it’s “cool” to be on whichever side at that time.
The biggest credit for making me embrace the deep down wrestling fan, oddly enough, isn’t really Steve Austin, Daniel Bryan, or even TNA. My biggest addiction lately is actually the developmental territory for WWE, the NXT product is actually very entertaining and it mixes the old school “high school gym” feel with the top level talent and production. After going to my first ever NXT Live event I haven’t been able to stop talking about it, watching it, and I haven’t been able to stop watching wrestling anywhere I can find it on the television dial. I remember borrowing the King of the Deathmatch tape from my friend Rob Nickell back in high school because I wanted to see Mick Foley, I wanted to see Terry Funk, I wanted to see Dan Severn, I just wanted to see wrestling in any way possible. I remember ordering a Japanese wrestling promotions Pay Per View one time so that we could watch wrestling one night when it wasn’t on, my brother, my cousin, and I were so addicted we watched a PPV headlined by Dick Togo (of Kai En Tai fame), because we wanted to see a wrestling event on a Saturday night. I still remember sitting at the Chain of Lakes Complex for a local show headlined by one of my dad’s old friends, with all of 50 people, because I LOVED WRESTLING.
It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it doesn’t matter who is in the ring, if there’s a match and you’re a fan you’re damn well going to watch that match. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam represents all of us who would watch 8 people compete because the rest of the workers didn’t have approval by the State, and not complain one second about the situation. He’s representing those of us who would watch a cheap local promotion on public television late night on a Friday or Saturday night because it meant one more hour of pro wrestling that week. I support Daniel Bryan because I support the business of pro wrestling as a whole. I respect the hell out of John Cena, as he does bust his ass day in and day out, but he represents the big brand, especially with his promo stating that he would never work again if he weren’t a WWE Superstar. My call goes out tonight to all WRESTLING fans around the world, I don’t care if it’s TNA, I don’t care if it’s WWE, I don’t care if it’s ROH, I don’t care WHAT company you’re watching, just watch. Don’t talk shit about one company over the other, just watch the product, support the workers, and enjoy every second of every match as if it were the last you’ll get to watch. At the end of the day, no matter if it’s TNA, WWE, WCW, ECW, ROH, NXT, FIP, MLW, or anything else, watch it, because you’re either a WRESTLING fan, or you’re not.