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WWE vs. The Internet

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Guest TSMAdmin



No e-mail of the week, thanks to the mail server deleting all my old mail. So if you e-mailled me, and didn't get a reply – that was why. Sorry.


Caption contest winner was Ed Demko, with:




What the WWE thinks about YOU:


WWE doesn't like you. Because you know too much. Not in a Big Brother, 1984 way, but Vince McMahon has always been set against the internet, and despite the death of kayfabe, he has still not warmed to it. But it's a double edged sword – there's recently been a lot of "log onto WWE.com and vote..." segments on Raw, as well as wweshopzone.com sponsoring PPVs. See, McMahon isn't opposed to the internet as an idea, but what he is opposed to is not having control over it.




How often do you hear a WWE employee decry the internet, "smart" fans as a bunch of kids? For example, Triple H in April 2003's Raw magazine said "What some six-year-old in Podunk thinks about the show that night, or the match I had... It's a bunch of crap."


I'll get back to why that attitude is absolutely fucking asinine later.


What about Bradshaw's scarily accurate(!) portrayal of online journalists, from last November:


While there are a few who try hard to be journalists, there are many who just want to be heard, probably because they are computer-loving geeks who don't have an athletic bone in their bodies and are mad at the world. They probably had their lunch money stolen by some big guy when they were young, and this is their way of "striking back."


Now what the fucking hell is that meant to mean? "Probably because they are computer loving geeks..." Way to talk about your fans there, Justin. You talentless piece of shit. And yeah, I'm just saying that because I'm a computer-loving geek without an athletic bone in my body, and I'm mad at the world. Oh, and because I had my lunch money stolen by some big guy when I was young and this is my way of striking back. Nothing personal. You twat.


Another typical WWE response to "online rumours" is to discredit them. Jim Ross made it a weekly thing in the Ross Report to discredit some of the stories that were going round the internet at that point. Because these rumours are seen as a problem, WWE (like Bradshaw did a couple of paragraphs back) are quick to say "fuck everyone online. They don't care about the business, so why should we take them seriously?"


This is from the Hurricane's commentary:


And speaking of comics I have to bring up a rumor that The Torch recently published that said something to the effect of:


"The Hurricane has some heat in the lockerroom since his move to Raw.


He is a big fan of comics, as is Raw head writer Brian Gewirtz. The two have been seen talking about comics and this rubs other wrestlers the wrong way.


Besides his relationship with Gewirtz, Hurricane is known for being quiet and keeping to himself in the lockerroom, which sometimes can seem as unfriendly and offputting.


Credit: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter"


Now, we in the scientific community have a term for this. It is called "Bovine Defecation." In layman's terms, that would be "Bull$#h!t!"


I am flattered that the Torch finds me newsworthy, but this? LOL Please tell me, you don't seriously believe this? And you have to believe it or why else would you print it? I mean, you wouldn't print something that you might think is incorrect would you? Is this a Newsletter or a Rumorletter? You actually think that anyone would care that I read or talk about comics to my friends? Does that include Edge, Raven, or Al Snow? Uh-oh, Jericho went with me to a comic store last week, maybe he'll have "heat" now too! And come to think of it, I was talking with Hulk Hogan about a comic book shirt he was wearing once. Hope no one saw that! And I did just call RVD today to let him know that his favorite comic book character, Ghost Rider, is in a new book, but don't tell anyone because I don't want to get Rob in trouble! And not that it's anyone's business, but when I do talk to the aforementioned head writer, it is always very brief and 9 times out of 10 wrestling related. But if it is comic related, that might, just might, be because my character is a Super-Hero! Coincidence much?


And as for being quiet? LOL, That's me right? The guy with the green hair that runs around dressed up like a superhero? Well trust me on this, if I do have any kind of heat whatsoever, you can bet you last dollar that it isn't from being too quiet! LOL I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve. And when your heart is into something, sometimes the passion is hard to hide. And if you don't understand that, then there's no need for me to even try to explain.


Now, the optimist in me hopes that this was just an honest mistake or at least just a bad judgment call, but to be honest, I have too much fun doing what I do to let some keyboard warrior try to bring me down, and that's all that this was. Someone trying to hurt someone else for absolutely no reason. You know, maybe if you guys read more comics, you wouldn't be so negative about everything! LOL


I think that speaks volumes, yet in a POLITE way.






Okay, not completely right, but a little bit. Firstly, when they say "you don't know about the wrestling business," they are a little bit right. I'd put a bet on that very, VERY few people reading this have been backstage (in the offices, booking meetings etc) at a wrestling event, and even less have been backstage with WWE. So whatever we "know" from what happens there is always second or third hand.


Go to any of the "lesser" wrestling sites, and at the bottom, there'll usually be a link along the lines of "Trish Stratus in Playboy! Steph McMahon new topless!1! Ultimate Warrior to return!" If you ever click the link, you'll see that it is, well, bullshit. Even respected sites get it wrong sometimes, and that is the very nature of rumours: They may be true.


Plans change in WWE all the time, and sometimes things are misreported. All it takes is someone to screw up and remove the word "might" from a report, and it completely changes the meaning.


Every reporter with a newsletter, or a pay section on their site is going to want people to spend money on them. So things may get twisted, taken out of context or slightly misreported. Lets face it – what is more profitable: "Flair sorted out some problems from WCW with Bischoff" or "Flair and Bischoff in backstage confrontation!"


Additionally, it does seem that internet fans can be overly negative. Obviously, the solution to this should be "make better shows", but obviously you can't please everyone all of the time, but WWE should know what they are doing by now. I think that it is easier for people to talk at length about the things that were bad, such as the infamous Lance Storm "humiliation" segment on Raw this week, simply because there is more mileage. With something good, it's easy to say "wow, that was awesome" and then move on. With the bad, you can talk about how stupid it was, why it was stupid and what they should have done. I think WWE sees these discussions a lot, and just thinks "fuck smarks."


The general impression that comes out from WWE is that there's a lot of "yes men" in management, and that anyone who disagrees with them is ignored or moved out of the way. Take this report, for example:


Kurt Angle and Edge were both approached during their injury rehab to contribute to the Smackdown creative team. Because of his faster than expected recovery, Angle never contributed, but Edge was part of the staff briefly.


Edge was reportedly very critical of the shows that were being submitted to him for review, and his negativity did not go over well with Stephanie McMahon and the rest of the staff.


As a result, he was told his critiques were too negative and his role with the creative staff was eliminated.


Again, that all comes from "internet rumours", so give it as much credibility as you think it deserves. Personally, I see nothing wrong with "too negative." If Edge comes into the meeting and says "I don't like X, Y and Z, because..." and he can back up everything he says... where’s the problem?


Some people also criticise WWE for things that they haven't yet done. Take this, from Scott Keith's Royal Rumble rant:


This seems to be building to Shawn v. Jericho at No Way Out next month. Where Shawn is supposed to be a babyface and Canadian Chris Jericho is supposed to be a heel. IN MONTREAL. Find the logical gap there.


Obviously, at the time, he wouldn't know that the match would take place at Wrestlemania, but what was the point of commenting on something he didn't know about? Was it an attempt to appear like he knows what he's talking about, and hoping that nobody would go back and call him on it? Who knows.




WWE can't leave anything alone. No matter who gets on their back, McMahon can't just ignore them. Need proof?




With internet fans, they obviously know they are there, but WWE cannot just turn around and ignore them. They have to say things like:


Triple H: Frankly, I couldn't care less about what fans on the Internet think. - when asked about his match with Booker T at Wrestlemania.


HHH next went onto a tirade about the internet community. He used the tired old argument that the internet actually just a bunch of kids on their parents' computers, writing about an industry which they've never competed in. - byte this.


These points have been stated a million times, but just to recap:


1) Stereotyping gets you nowhere

2) "Kids on their parent's computers" is the best he can come up with?

3) And no, I've never competed in a wrestling match. Does that mean I know nothing about wrestling? I've never made a movie – can I not review those? Or not even have an opinion on them?


It's ridiculous, because if they embraced the internet, they could have a DIRECT LINE of contact with the fans. WWE.com has a chatroom, but if you've ever been in there, then you'll see that the average chat goes something like:


[lesnarfan1] brock wil kick big shows ass becoz hes 2 fat 2 wrestle and brock has f5d him b4

[therockrulesjabronie] no way big show was teh first 2 beet Lesnar


Now I'm not criticising anyone who believes wrestling is still real, more power to them, but this is the only way on WWE.com to talk to WWE. Unless you believe that the "send your feedback on this show" links really mean anything.


Viewing figures are one way of seeing what was popular, but "watched by a lot of people" doesn't equal "good." For example, if you had Bret Hart hyped to be on the start of next week's Raw, you'd get a rating of about 6.0 or so, whether Hart punches McMahon, hugs him or sits in the ring masturbating.


By allowing people to have their say on the show, and most importantly, by LISTENING to them, the show will improve.




Just remember that WWE want it both ways. They want you to vote on who will Stone Cold will make the referee at Bad Blood. They want you to buy things at shopzone.com. They want you to click their adverts. But they don’t want you to talk about the product. They can't have it both ways – the internet is a blessing and a curse to a business like that, and if they put some effort in, they can win the smarks over. Not by doing Russo style "shoot" angles, but by listening and responding in a positive way, instead of what they are doing right now...


Since WWE already have this pre-disposed idea that everyone online is a 12 year old on their parent's computer that knows nothing about the business, they have invalidated EVERYTHING that is said. However, while smarks may not know 100% of the truth, enough material leaks for us to know more than we are given credit for.


Some of the ideas that I've seen on thesmartmarks.com forums are far better than anything WWE have come out with. Yet because we "don't know the business", we just get insulted. Name one other company that insults it's customers to that level? I bet you can't. On the company's OWN website, one of its employees said that some of the fans are "computer-loving geeks who don't have an athletic bone in their bodies". Oh, and "if you are one of the guys who gets hot about this then obviously I am talking about you, you wannabe geek."


Remember that the ratings have dropped from regular 6.5s, to a situation where a 4.0 is impressive. I'd be willing to bet that it isn't casual fans that want to see Stone Cold Stunnering McMahon that are still watching. It's the hardcore fans. The ones that are on the internet. The 12 year olds on mom's computer.




Thanks for all the feedback from Bad Blood and the tape review last week.

This week's caption contest:




And for fun, check out Divasearch.wwe.com and let me know the ugliest women, and the silliest "why I want to be a diva" bits. Hey – these women have agreed to be judged on their looks. Best of the best will be up next Friday.


Any comments or feedback, send them along to me at [email protected]



(12 years old, and on his mom's computer)

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