Overreaction of fans unnecessary
By Rennie Detore
Sunday, July 17, 2005
The inception of the Internet forever changed professional wrestling.
The once secretive, heavily guarded industry was exposed, with the
World Wide Web as the ultimate forum for fan discussion.
Those fans, as a result, fancied themselves as wrestling experts, or
"smarts" as they refer to themselves. Their access to inside
information at the click of a mouse convinced them they were just as
much a part of professional wrestling as the wrestlers.
So, when Matt Hardy appeared on "Raw" last Monday and attacked Edge,
the "smarts" felt betrayed by Hardy, who vowed via his Web site that
he was done with the evil empire known as World Wrestling
WWE released Hardy several months ago after it was learned that his
then-girlfriend Lita began dating Edge. The groundswell of support
Hardy received from his gaggle of Internet followers emerged on
television when chants of "We Want Matt" resonated throughout arenas
across the country.
Hardy used the Internet to first rally these "smarts" behind him,
explaining to them that he was the victim in this entire situation.
That sympathy quickly transformed into anger when Hardy rejoined the
so-called enemy, WWE.
Even the most sincere Hardy apologists peppered the message board of
his Web site with overly dramatic rhetoric that referred to Hardy as a
"sellout." The "smarts" were duped by Hardy, who signed a WWE contract
last month but continued to portray himself as a bitter, unemployed
The immediate bellyaching of this portion of WWE's jaded audience is
ridiculous, if one considers the forum. WWE is a character-driven
entity supported by storylines that perpetuate its TV programs. WWE
then throws in athleticism and in-ring competition as the ultimate
The problem is the Internet reports wrestling news much like ABC or
CBS delivers world news. The only difference, which is forgotten by
these "smarts," is that WWE doesn't deal directly in legitimate news,
instead shaping real-life news stories for storyline purposes.
The Internet picked up the Lita-Hardy-Edge story and treated it like a
news story. WWE took the news value and added its brand of
entertainment to it.
The angle itself involving Hardy attacking Edge last Monday was
extremely effective and well-executed by all parties, especially WWE.
The company handled Hardy's actions with a sense of realism, as if
Hardy actually wasn't supposed to attack Edge.
The only gaffe last Monday was WWE positioning a camera backstage just
in time to catch Hardy jumping Edge for the first time, which almost
assuredly guaranteed that a second-in ring attack was looming.
That said, the storyline was enjoyable and competent, and begins the
hype for Hardy and Edge at "SummerSlam."
For any fan, casual or smart, to completely believe Hardy's comments
or WWE's side of the story hasn't been watching wrestling long enough
to understand how it works. Even more ridiculous is the thought of
fans attaching themselves to a wrestling storyline to the point that
they take it personally.
Hulk rules ratings
The premiere of "Hogan Knows Best" on VH1 last Sunday scored a 1.9
rating, making it the show the highest rated series premiere in the
history of the cable network. The program also rated No. 1 in the 18-
to 49-year-old demographic.