The longer title of this article was going to be ‘Pro Wrestling and YouTube: A Look At How YouTube Has Helped All Wrestling Promotions, Large And Small’ – And then I realised how ridiculously long that title was. Pro Wrestling is definitely an interest of mine, as many of you will be aware. With the Royal Rumble coming up at the end of the month, I thought I’d do one of my usual rare talks about how ridiculous a show can be – But instead of focusing purely on WWE, I thought that it might be interesting to talk about how YouTube has played such a massive role in helping with what is effectively a boom of interest.
Monster is a word that is often left for the goliaths and the behemoths; a word that can incite fear in even the bravest of soul. But, whether or not you believe in monsters, in storytelling, a monster can be more than just a beast. It can be something very human indeed – and in fact, in this article, I’m going to look at a fantastic story being told in the realm of professional wrestling right now: Braun Strowman. Yes, there will be talk of wrestling, but we’ll focus this article on the storytelling aspect behind it. Trust me – There’s a lot we can learn here.
Dashing through the ring, jumping off a ladder, hit you with a chair, smash you through a table! WWE TLC 2015 has now come and gone, leaving behind a few questions and a lot of answers. Who will look good going into the New Year and who really stood out? Join Timlah as he takes a look back at the demolition derby that ensued. WARNING: This article is full of results from the event and is image heavy. (more…)
Professional Wrestling is an entertainment medium that splits the masses, for it is entertainment shrouded in mystery, intrigue and deception. It’s public knowledge how some matches are carried out, thanks to wrestlers talking about their sometimes harrowing experiences via biographies and other mediums. However, in this day and age, these men and women who put on phenomenal shows are slated for not being what some call true fighters. Perhaps they’re not a true sense of the word fighter, but honestly, I consider these individuals some of the toughest and bravest people on the planet, doing high-risk stuff just for peoples enjoyment.
So far, this year has been an incredible year for the WWE. They’ve introduced a lot of brand new talent to their already sizeable rosters. From the developmental circuit down in NXT, to the main stage on Monday Night RAW and Thursday Night Smackdown, the amount of potential the wrestlers have and display is superb. Now however, it’s time to look past all of this and talk about some of these talents. For this article however, I want to discuss one man… Seth Rollins.
At the time of writing this article, I’m sat here having just finished watching the Night of Champions Pay-Per-View on the WWE Network, as I was really excited to see it! By the time you read this article, the results will be done and we’ll see where the company are going with their stars. From the recent addition to indie sensation Kevin Steen (now known as Kevin Owens), to The Black Sheep, Braun Strowman, the WWE is filled with truly talented and gifted individuals. One man who has been at the forefront of the new wave of talent is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins. He retained his World Heavyweight Championship last night, but lost the United States Championship.
He’s been the archetypical heel (bad guy) for quite some time: Cowardly, conniving, cunning heel who wins by any means necessary. He’ll take a dirty win if it means he gets to retain his title, but during the SummerSlam Pay-Per-View, he beat John Cena to gain the United States championship. This is an interesting position Seth found himself in, as he took on not only Cena for the United States rematch, but also he has to fight the WCW legend, Sting. As many websites stress, this was a way to potentially make Seth turn face (good guy) and make him a future star, burning bright. Either that, or because of the way he’s been booked, he’ll be remembered as nothing more as the guy who sleazily got his way through every victory.
Whatever your view point on the state of wrestling, Seth Rollins or anything of this kind, there’s one thing that’s actually undeniable. The presence of WWE has gotten much larger and much more in your face than it was previous. In the early 00’s, we had what we call the Attitude Era, with figures like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Chris Jericho and more. These men and women of the squared circle were charismatic and all around incredible athletes, who endured unimaginable pain. They did so just because they enjoyed putting on a show by putting their bodies on the line.
Move on some years and we’re in the 2010’s. In 2015, there are more gamers and geeks than ever in the wrestling industry. Heck, the World Heavyweight Champion himself is a geek and quite a big one. In the video below, you can see the Champion sat with fellow wrestling star, Xavier Woods, enjoying a spot of Turtles in Time. But this wasn’t just a one off YouTube video. No, he’s been in Smosh videos (as shown above) and more.
Well known for going to Comic Con with other WWE Superstars, Seth Rollins is a man that geeks of the world can get behind. Couple this with the fact he’s a phenomenal athlete, he’s living proof that geeks can make it in the world, no matter what they choose to do with their life. As such, I am rooting for the biggest bad guy in the company, Seth Rollins. I can’t wait to see him become the biggest babyface and eventually, Seth ‘the man who runs the place‘ Rollins.
Have you seen Seth Rollins in action? Did you see Night of Champions and want to weigh in on your opinions for the nights results? Hopefully you enjoyed this tangent away from our typical articles, but if you have any comments, leave them below, or over on Facebook and Twitter!
In 2011, CM Punk shocked the world when he beat John Cena for the WWE Championship in CM Punks home town of Cicago, Illinois. In the build up to this, CM Punk was able to sit down at the top of the ramp and he aired his grievances to the world. This was a major turn in the WWE and indeed perhaps the whole of professional wrestling.
Phil Brooks (CM Punk) was well known for being outspoken, as well as being a damn great athlete. Like him or not, you had to respect him. He said a few things during his aired grievance that really shook the WWE. He said some harsh words about Vincent McMahon, the chairman of the board. He said how things might be better when—Well; I’ll let you decide if you want to watch the “pipe bomb” that Phil left.
So what does all this have to do with geekdom or geek culture?
There are two sides to every coin, here’s one of my “less geeky” passions which has a surprisingly geeky undertone.
To begin with, when I first saw some WWE programming, I thought there was something rather real going on. Even though I didn’t start watching the show until 2011, there was still an air of realism. It’s not until I started to watch it properly did I figure the scripted nature of the show.
That and the lack of really serious injuries, this is. They do exist, of course: Concussions, broken bones, separations, torn muscle – You name it, these athletes get put through a ton of pain and it shows very visibly on their faces from time to time.
Dolph Ziggler selling a very nasty looking spear, for entertainment!
But, whilst I was a “Mark” to the WWE, everything felt magically immersive. You egged on the good guys and you jeered at the bad guys. You didn’t want the bad guys to win. Not until the really fun and creative bad guys appeared over the past few years, but I digress.
After everything became clear to me that this was just a show, I decided to take to forums and read about these men and women who put their bodies on the line day in and day out.
Jump forward a few years and lo and behold, I became a “Smark”. I know of the lingo they use backstage, I know of the “bumps”, the “spots”, the “faces” and the “heels”. I know about referees signalling a wrestler to stop by putting their arms in an “X” shape which signifies a real injury has occurred.
Does it make me a better “viewer” for the WWE? Definitely not!
I sometimes wish I didn’t know as much as I did about the bookings of matches and the likes, but at the same time, there’s now this other end of the field. The “guessing game” as it were; the “will they put over a new guy and make a new star?” It happens, occasionally. We recently saw a trio of amazing athletes called The Shield. In 2012, they arrived and they were conquering everyone. 2013 – Still conquering! 2014 – They finally go their separate ways… And all three of them have turned into breakout stars.
Smarks are known for hanging around online, they are called the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community). Now, whilst it’s somewhat dangerous to say that all “smarks” are part of the IWC, a good number are. I’d argue that I’m not really, although I have been known to browse forums and browse websites that cater to the smarks. This is simply because I like knowing these little tidbits of information.
I like to hear the backstage stories, such as “x has just been resigned with the WWE”, as then when you miss just one of these stories – It makes that return/debut of a wrestler oh so much more exciting! As well as this, it’s important to note that the WWE isn’t where professional wrestling “finishes”. A lot of Marks will be stuck with just the WWE as their source of pro wrestling entertainment. Smarks will know of the other promotions; Chikara, TNA Impact, Ring of Honour, you name it. This isn’t to say a Mark can’t watch those promotions either; but for the most part, once someone has picked a promotion, they’ll stick to it.
The promotions all fall in the same category of entertainment. They tell stories in the ring between characters… And few tell it as well as the match below. Whether you think wrestling is stupid or fun, the match below is one that will have people talking for a long time. It’s why I’m a bit of a smark, who yearns to be a mark. I watch the big matches on Pay Per View (Until the WWE Network finally comes to England) and during them, I like to shut all knowledge of other sites away. During the weekly television programming, I enjoy the geeky side. I enjoy reading the dirt sheets, I enjoy the interviews and the social media that WWE utilises so well. But during the Pay Per Views: It’s still real to me, damn it.
So, to conclude, a Mark is a term coined by the industry – Someone who believes the product is real, someone to keep enamoured with the product in whatever means necessary. This is by using language that the Marks might not know about: Face (Good guy), Heel (Bad guy), Mark (Someone who just watches the product), Smark (Someone who watches the product and has some knowledge of what happens behind the scenes).
A Smark, conversely, is someone that watches professional wrestling because they love it. They love it in a different way; they enjoy to watch the show and they enjoy to get to know the wrestlers, their pasts, their ideas and more. They will follow things and will connect the dots. They get so deeply into the product, they’re generally engrossed in it… But they will often retort about anything they didn’t find one hundred percent pleasing.
If you believe everything in pro wrestling, I envy you. If you believe that someone is able to get up after being planted on their head with moves like a “Brainbustaaaah”, I envy you. I want to believe that but I can’t. Instead – I enjoy the show for what it is. Damn entertaining with some relatively good (albeit simple) stories.
What do you think of pro wrestling in general? Is there a certain geekiness you’ve recognised about it or has this article opened up some of its geekier aspects to you? As always, leave us a comment and hey, if enough of you enjoy these articles, I might do the occasional opinion piece on what I’d like to see for story lines! I might also open up into different aspects of Pro Wrestling, such as what a luchador is (and indeed Hawlucha would make an appearance for that special), as well as perhaps looking into Greco Roman and the origins of wrestling. There’s such a splendour of stuff with pro wrestling and wrestling in general, I could write about it for weeks on end. But most importantly: Let’s focus on the geeky aspects of pro wrestling.