Saturday, May 5, 2001
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Ashamed to be a fan
Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a fan ... but first let me explain. I am not someone who, at the remark 'wrestling is fake' will either fall to the floor, curl up in the fetal position yell 'it's not true' and start to hum Pomp and Circumstance to myself; nor am I a person that would yell out 'LIAR!', slap on a cross-face chicken-wing on him and ask him to take it back. But I am a fan -- a fan who has an autographed copy of Christmas Chaos by Jerry Lawler, who should be sitting ringside when the WWF comes to Winnipeg next time, enjoys a good cruiser weight match and has some ECW figures on a shelf.
But I do get ashamed sometimes.
I get ashamed when I am expected to forget things that happened before and are ignored. But I suppose that the members of wrestling federations are much more forgiving or forgetful than I am. I know it would take a very long time for me to forgive my Dad if he had me kidnapped and set me up as a sacrifice. I don't think I would want the man who had me run over to watch my back; That somehow Tiger Ali Singh forget how to wrestle in his time away from WWF; Paul Heyman for wondering why a table is being set up on end in a corner of the ring when ECW was known for things just like that; Team Canada would be hard pressed to submit a two-man team for any event at the Olympics but would fit right in on an American team. Little things that seem to slip by like that.
I am ashamed that I am from Winnipeg, Canada just like Jericho and not Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I sometimes wonder if they might just mean the same place?
I get ashamed when I expect to see someone at a live event and they are a no-show. I do realize that the card is subject to change and there are things that could not be avoided. But I was at a house show where at least five people (although I believe it was more) did not show up which included one of the top four guys in the federation and two people that I truly wanted to see. I do not know why I thought they'd be there even when I was warned 'card subject to change'.
I am ashamed for watching a spanking match and at the same time wondering what the dancing cages at WCW events look like.
I am ashamed to be a fan mostly for being a single number that makes up a crowd. Guilty by association is one phrase that I like and I think applies to most people. Fans can be caring and giving but they can also be disrespectful. Not all of the fans (obviously) and not all actions (equally obvious) are bad. In fact, when Mike Rotunda was here in WCW the fans started to chant I.R.S. Personally, I thought that was kind of funny. But, after reading something that was on SLAM!s news and rumours about the person who had an "I'd rather be at WCW' sign at a WWF taping ... Why? Why show up in the first place?
But that's not all I'm ashamed of for being a fan in a crowd. Watching TV I was perplexed at why people who would throw stuff into the ring, barring a few cans of beer thrown Austin's way of course. I did not notice it as much watching WWF on TV as I did watching WCW, but then maybe it was all edited out? Heckling is one thing, and it's even used to get the crowd energized at times. I think we all know that being booed loudly is just as good as being cheered. But what purpose does throwing in half full drinks, uneaten hotdogs or any other pieces of garbage? When I went to see WCW it was a decent house show (with the exception of Sid Vicious who was the world champ at the time not having the belt with him and putting on a quick match) and I thought back to the WCW tapings that I saw garbage being tossed into the ring. Certainly we wouldn't do that? But we did. That goes beyond booing or heckling any day. I know I couldn't go through physically what they do, and I know I couldn't take that mentally. I don't know if this goes on everywhere they go, but I hope that it didn't sour them on my city.
Perhaps the other things I mentioned first I'm not truly ashamed of but of the last thing .... I feel like I have to apologize for things that people around me did. Wrestlers can be a lot 'stronger' than people give them credit for. I hope that they might keep doing what they do for the people who enjoy it -- and can try to forget the ones who even I don't know why they show up at an event.
To all the wrestlers out there, every single one of you, title belt around the waist or no, thank you.
Jarett Charowsky is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.