Posted by Alex Barie
The wrestling business has certainly changed since the 50s and 60s. It changed from how we can view the wrestling shows to how the superstars look and act. Times have changed and the business had to change with the time. Some changes are better than others. One change that I really have to ponder is the whole social media situation. I looked over some stories that have taken place throughout the recent year or so. I come to realize that social media may actually be more harmful than helpful in the art of professional wrestling story telling.
One of the most obvious reasons as to why social media is ruining the art of story telling on the professional wrestling shows is because of SPOILERS! When someone sees: *SPOILERS* in a title of an article, most people quickly click on it to read what will be happening. There is a reason why they are called spoilers. They spoil it. They spoil the shows. The story telling is spoiled. Wrestling shows aren’t meant to have spoilers. They are meant to watch it weekly in order to see a story progress. Most people attack Impact Wrestling because of the story of Aces & 8s and, recently, the whole Destination X title shot opportunity. If they actually stayed away from the spoilers, they would see how the story develops and how it progresses over months. There’s no doubt that the story telling should be the focal point of the wrestling shows in this day and age. Watching wrestling is such a big deal, but it isn’t going to keep people to watch week in and week out. They love drama. They love story telling. If you keep people interested, you keep them tuning in every week. Spoilers, without a doubt, affects it. Certainly the topic of spoilers can be used for an article itself, so I’ll stop right here.
One of the most recent cases of the social media frenzy is the story about Brooke Hogan getting engaged. The story can be found here. The reason why I bring this is up is because, through Impact Wrestling, Brooke is married to Bully Ray. I know it is a story and it’s all fiction, but that is not what the business wants you to know. They want you to know Brooke and Bully are married. They want you to believe. In fact, remember when Brooke was interviewed on radio shows to promote Impact? She went as far as saying that the whole story between Bully and herself of loving each other and getting married was true. That’s a worker who knows the old school business model. That is to not break kayfabe. Brooke played the whole situation well. Now comes the story of Brooke Hogan getting engaged. The story actually drew Brooke Hogan as the number 1 trending topic on Yahoo!. Saying that doesn’t help TNA is a lie, but it also hurts the whole story.
Back in March, Kurt Angle took the fight to Aces & 8s. He beat them down and came face to face with the VP of the group. After taking the guy down, Kurt took the mask off and he found out who the person was. Moments later, he was attacked from behind and the show ended. Kurt Angle went on to tweet away a day or so later. So did Kevin Sullivan. Kevin worked for both WWE‘s website and their magazine. He had the title of, “Director of Content Development for WWE.com.” Kevin went on to tweet how pointless it was to wait till next week to find out who the VP is because we live in such a technology filled era. I simply replied to him that it is all part of the story. It creates anticipation and people will want to find out, so they will tune in next week to find out. It’s all about progressing the story. Kevin replied to me saying that he could just reveal the VP on Twitter. I understand where he is coming from, but that is so illogical. Where does TNA have more viewers? The Twitter accounts of Kurt and of Impact Wrestling, or the people who watch TNA on television? The answer is an easy one. Certainly the guy wanted to knock down TNA, as he usually does. Do you remember the anonymous GM angle on WWE Raw back in 2011? Vince McMahon put the person in charge of the show and, throughout his reign, he gave the members of the Nexus contracts and they attacked Vince. Now, couldn’t WWE reveal the man behind the computer so he can get his punishment? Of course the top people in the company know, but yet they never said one word.
Not only does social media ruin the story telling in professional wrestling, but it also can ruin the story of each wrestler’s gimmicks. We seen time and time again where wrestlers would tweet something that shouldn’t be said. Remember the whole Jay Briscoe tweet controversy? Here’s the story! I took to my Facebook page on this subject and Jeff, from Twitter, @JXDubya, wrote:
Social Media hasn’t ruined anything, it is the wrestlers not using their brain when using it. Like say there is a feud being booked as a “Blood Feud to end all feuds” then two minutes later the two wrestlers involved tweet out a pic of them eating together as BEST FRIENDS. Kills the whole thing. Wrestlers need to use it as an extension to the feud. Wrestlers that do that are kinda smacking the art form in the face IMO.
There are a lot of perks in which social media helps the art of professional wrestling story telling though. Two words… Mark Henry! It was just a few weeks ago where Mark teased that he was retiring on Raw. It came out to be a complete work. However, Mark was able to use his social media to hype his segment/promo on the show. He was able to make it convincing. That’s the way to use technology. It shouldn’t be used to ruin or hurt a story, but it should be used to enhance a story.
There’s no way that we can stop the ruining of story telling through spoilers and tweets as that drives views and it is just the way our society is with technology, but wrestling promotions and wrestlers themselves can use the internet as a stepping stool. They can use it to hype and enhance a story or character. Social media is a weapon. Weapons can be used to hurt AND to protect. It is all about how to use it.
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