By Ciaran-James @TheCiaranJames
Is it me or have our rights to having an opinion been stopped? Is it not our right as customers to complain when we disagree with the product we are buying? As a writer I’m a huge supporter of opinion, criticism, complaint, and good or bad everyone has a right to their opinion. In every walk of life we have our opinion, from where we work, our lifestyle, friends, food, television, films, politics, religion, it seems acceptable within these fields to have an opinion. Recently after a local independent show I was attacked personally after a difference of opinion that got out of hand, the matter was quickly sorted and life continued.
A few days after I saw a tweet, which said the following:
“If you don’t like something about an independent show, the worst thing you can do is slag it off on social media. Criticise constructively!”
Is this really what most fans of independent wrestling believe? Have we now reached the point in wrestling that you can’t criticise a product you have paid to watch, the majority of people work long hours to finance their love of watching pro wrestling. Have they not paid enough to be critical? When WWE seem to do something wrong, hundreds if not thousands of us heavily criticise the product, we moan when our favourites are not pushed, we moan when part timers return and take the top spots, in droves we moan at WWE for not being the product it could be. The coin flips however when it comes to the independent promotions, it seems the indy promotions that we’ve come to adore are untouchable, even at the mere suggestion of a show not being amazing the axe drops and some are vilified. I have personally spoken to wrestling fans who refrain from commenting about a product, fearful of the backlash if they dare speak against it.
As much good as social media has done there is the negativity that comes with it. Fans are now “friends” with wrestlers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this surely creates a conflict of interest when attending, reporting on and reviewing a wrestling show. I personally have had to adapt my style of writing to approach my reviews neutrally, remembering what I don’t like some people may love. It’s difficult but a worthwhile task, it helps you distance yourself from the inner fan boy/girl and write constructively without leaning to one side or another. For example I loathe the face Sasha Banks character, my opinion is that she should be a heel, should I be attacked for my opinion? Am I within my own right allowed to make such a comment? Or should I toe the line and conform to what everyone else thinks is cool. Although I’ve used WWE as an example the main source of the rhetoric revolves around the independent wrestling scene.
On March 13th I reviewed a 4FW (UK Promotion) show from the weekend, I compared the product and highlighted the differences from a year ago. I attend all the events and know the owner, however it didn’t sway me when it came to doing my job. I can understand that it would have come across sounding harsh but it’s the truth, there was a response, a constructive conversation and the matter was settled. The owner of 4FW knows the business he is in, if people can’t take criticism then they shouldn’t sell a product. If a match, show and or performer is below par I’m going to call attention to it, I’m not going to be blinded just because I am a fan of the promotion, attend the shows and talk/confer with members of a promotion on social media. This should be the same rule for fans, if they don’t like a product they should be allowed to comment without fear of ridicule, it’s their right as paying customers.
We may not all agree, but let’s respect each other, after all it’s only wrestling!