It doesn’t take much to upset the internet these days. Batista returning? Anger. Bray Wyatt Losing? Frustration. John Cena’s whole existence? Disgust. Even when the IWC finally gets a win with the “indie darling” Daniel Bryan ascending to professional wrestling’s apex (at the biggest show of the year no less), it still is not enough. People still make up reasons to be mad.
I understand the whole matter-of-opinion nonsense. “Wrestling is about personal preference” they say. Opinions like, “The good stuff, ‘real wrestling’ such as Ring of Honor, that’s what you should be watching. Don’t waste your time with sports entertainment.” Or, “only the kids like John Cena/The Usos/(anybody not named Dolph Ziggler).”
Well, it’s time to get off your high-horse, internet. Because you’ve already beaten it. To Death.
Opinions are well and good until a person decides that their ‘opinion’ should be nothing but anger, contempt, and disgust. When they cross that indiscernible line from forming a perspective that balances out their personal feelings with the realities of what happened, and switch to the ‘my feeling is anger, all the time, every day’ camp. When they only watch something to tear it apart. No, that’s not the definition of a critic. It is the working philosophy of somebody who just loves to bait people into being upset. What we here on the world-wide-web refer to as a “troll.”
And so right before Wrestlemania, the tide shifted. Fans who for months (possibly years) had been angry about the perceived injustice surrounding Daniel Bryan were losing their ground. Remember how everybody thought CM Punk deserved all that and a bag of chips before he got anything? And then he went on a historic 434-day title run? Apparently it never happened because, to quote the internet wrestling community, “WWE never puts the championships on people who deserve it.” Shucks.
So Bryan became the newly-bestowed internet champion. And while he didn’t even come into his own as a main-event level player until early 2013, the internet was buzzing about how WWE had been holding him back for years. Just forget that Money in the Bank win and subsequent World Title run… forget his incredibly entertaining stint as Tag Team Champion alongside Kane (because, keep in mind, we can’t like Kane either, for some indiscernible reason or another). Daniel Bryan wasn’t being treated like a “star,” and it was because everybody in WWE hates the fans, and money, and ‘merica.
The entire story of Wrestlemania this year was Daniel Bryan persevering against all odds. The machine tried to hold him back, but he didn’t let that get in his way. And so despite the fact that every Raw (and most Smackdowns) had Daniel Bryan all over it, the internet fans rallied against WWE with their conspiracy theories that Triple H was going to win the title at Wrestlemania, or that this was all an elaborate scheme to make sure Dave Batista could go back and make lots of money in Hollywood as WWE champion because… well, who knows why.
None of that happened, though. Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H, and then pinned Dave Batista TO WIN THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP, both in the same night, at Wrestlemania 30. He proved his worth at the top of Professional Wrestling. And WWE, including Vince McMahon, Triple H, Harvey Wippleman, and the entire cast and crew of ‘Total Divas,’ showed that they have confidence in Bryan as the top guy.
But the internet wrestling community doesn’t understand happiness. Unlike a six-year-old child, it hasn’t figured out that, once you finally get what you’ve been crying about for months (and months, and months, and months), you should sit back and enjoy it. At least momentarily.
Instead, here came the cries about Evolution reforming as a way to steal the spotlight from Bryan. Speculation that Kane was picked to take on Bryan because the WWE doesn’t have much confidence in either man, and that’s not okay because we all hate Kane anyway (remember?). Conspiracy theorist who were trying to prove that, for whatever reason, a multi-million dollar company is actively seeking out ways to degrade, cut-down, and de-emphasize its own top champion.
I mean, lets be honest – if WWE really did want to punish Bryan, they should just let him do a stint in TNA.
I wont argue that Kane is still a top-level performer. I do, however, think the pairing makes sense. First, Kane and Bryan have decent chemistry in the ring. Second, Bryan excels as the consummate underdog, and he doesn’t need to challenge every top-level guy right away. Let him build his resume against some established, but not necessarily dominant, names, and save a high-profile match against Triple H, Dave Batista, or John Cena for a spotlight event like SummerSlam. Let monsters such as Kane tear him down (which is exactly what happened last week on RAW), with Bryan still ultimately prevailing.
Or not. Maybe Bryan loses this coming Sunday, and has to start the ride all over. So what?
If you’re only watching wrestling so your guys win all the time, pack it up. Sometimes they might win, but oftentimes they will lose. This is as much ‘entertainment’ as it is ‘sport,’ and if the reason you watch television is to see what you think should happen play out on-screen every week, enjoy those CSI repeats (or whatever it is CBS shows these days).
As for me? I’m going to enjoy being a wrestling fan, and everything that goes with it. Yes, I’ll be disappointed some weeks… and yes, I’ll always have to endure one-too-many Santino Marella matches. Still, that’s better than being a troll.
Do you think internet fans are right on the money, or are the out of control? Let me know in the comments below! Or, sound off with Between the Ropes on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest wrestling conversations.