A Response to Crossfire
By Bobby D
In Will Cross’s latest article (it’s a good read, regardless of your personal feelings), he puts forth the oft-argued notion that TNA is a sort of whipping-boy for the IWC. While I understand this idea, I cannot help but feel that it fails to resonate with someone who, like me, is a weekly follower/fan of Ring of Honor, WWE, AND TNA (all for slightly different reasons). I have been lurking this website since the night after that horrible Hardcore Justice ECW ppv (and I don’t care how much you love ECW or TNA, that ppv was utter shite) and have occasionally been sucked into fruitless and silly arguments with some of the frequent posters on this site (usually involving me being a snarky, sarcastic ass to someone with whom I disagreed and the whole notion of discourse devolving from there). As a result of being around and reading the comments and ideas presented by those in this community, I see a lot of ROH bashing and to a lesser extent WWE bashing.
I understand not liking another company’s product or direction. What I cannot understand is attacking those who DO like it. This, I feel, gets to the heart of the IWC culture. I know that certain posters on this website feel as though they are not part of the IWC because of the fact that this community is relatively insular. I note that many people here make mention and complain about the attitudes that people of other communities have towards TNA, yet turn around and express similar sentiments about WWE or ROH. This is not necessary, nor is it productive. Whether or not someone cares to admit it, this community (admittedly, my absolute favorite one on the internet) is a perfect example, a perfect microcosm of the IWC because of these very reasons.
This brings me back to “Crossfire”. One position Will takes in this most recent article is that people are bandwagon fans for starting to come around to TNA now, as opposed to seven months ago when Bobby Roode won the title and even further back, when Pritchard took over and many of the seeds were planted for the product we receive now. But that’s the thing: we were getting seeds for months – A-Double winning the title was the bloom. It seems that the mentality of some on this site is that unless a person watches and loves everything a company does, good, bad and in between, they are not a true fan. This is not true. After years (10 to be exact) of angles and storylines that put dudes way past their prime over the guys around whom a company could and should be built (Main Event Mafia – I do NOT CARE that the ratings were the best around that time…building stars and establishing the people who will headline the company down the road is not a matter of ratings, it’s a matter of making people think that they are someone worth watching), World Title holders taking a backseat to contrived storylines (Ken Anderson…TWICE, and Samoa Joe come to mind) and the like, is it so hard to believe that people might take a little bit to rethink their willingness to put two hours of their life per week into something?
Now do NOT get me wrong. This is not an indictment of TNA or TNA fans, but rather a call for understanding. Fans should not be looked down upon or insulted for finally coming back around to TNA. Furthermore, fans should not be looked down upon for having lessened their intake of the product – the fact that they came back around when they did at least indicates that they were following the product and open to return to it. Hulk Hogan said it best – “there’s a buzz around TNA right now (brother)”. Why be angry when that buzz brings in new (and old) viewers and fans? That’s a GOOD thing.
I respect Will Cross. I really do. He takes the time, every week, to write a column that always sparks discussion and comment. It should be noted, however, that I oftentimes GREATLY disagree with his methods and the way he presents his arguments. Will is the type of writer who thrives on controversy (real or perceived). As a result his columns are inherently divisive. THIS is not what the IWC needs. People are different and, as a result, so are their interests, likes, dislikes, and tastes. Will’s “love-TNA-or-you’re-wrong-and/or-an-idiot” attitude is something that just doesn’t spark the kind of discussion that increases a person’s LOVE of wrestling – all it does is enhance and justify one side’s beliefs, and alienate the other’s.
Here’s the thing. I don’t love TNA. I don’t love ROH. I don’t love WWE, or CHIKARA, or PWG or EVOLVE or DGUSA. I LOVE WRESTLING. As a result that takes me down a different path for every phase I go through. There are periods where all I want to do is watch ROH, with its boring storylines (though the Steen rise and subsequent title victory was a refreshing exception), it’s bland characters (again, Steen is the exception) and it’s PHENOMENAL wrestling matches. Alternatively, there are periods where WWE with it’s cartoonish heels, and talk-heavy shows appeal to me quite a bit (WWE of late, however, has been a major snoozefest – at this point I only watch WWE for Daniel Bryan, Ziggler, Punk, Cody Rhodes and in the hopes that John Cena might actually do something interesting for a change).
Finally there is TNA. Right now TNA is the only interesting thing going – ROH is so stale it’s growing mold, and WWE is so STUPID and inane it should be wearing a helmet 24/7. TNA, on the other hand, is kicking ass. So why call people “bandwagon” fans for flocking to the only wrestling product that is doing anything of merit – building new stars, shuffling their main event scene around, giving us good, intriguing matches every week?