The Trouble With Internet Reporting
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Anyway, I decided to write a column today about the state of Internet reporting today. I do consider myself an Internet reporter, the scourge of the WWE, but at the same time, I am very disenfranchised with the medium I am involved with. There is a certain amount of credibility we lose when week in and week out we just insult the things we love. I am guilty of that myself and for the most part, I write my column to be funny and when I insult the matter, I do it in a lighthearted manner not aimed at hurting the product. I don't come out and viciously attack what I love, because I know somewhere out there the fans do want to see what is being presented to them. In life, there is always criticism that must be made, because if everything was perfect we would always be happy and there would be no room for change. However, there is a difference between being critical and attacking for the sake of attacking.
Let's look at the situation involving HHH. We hated him. Everyone and their mother was attacking HHH for holding on to the title for so long and only losing it to HBK then winning it back. Let us look at the big picture here. HHH won the title by being handed the championship. Well, fans were up in arms stating that this was wrong and HHH is a power hungry jackass who took it upon himself to take the title and have it lose credibility. As Internet reporters, however, we know that wrestling storylines are predetermined. HHH won a #1 contender match a week before and therefore was the top man in the company. To have him win a tournament to claim the title would have been time consuming and would have halted storylines. It had been done before in many, many other federations and the WWE decided to hand the belt over to HHH and have storylines continue from there. He would have to earn his title that night by beating a legend Ric Flair and he did just that, proving that he was above the 16-time World Champion and worthy of the title. We blasted him.
His reign included a win over RVD for the World title and while we all love RVD and root for him at every show, the majority of Internet reporters know that RVD does the same moves week in and week out and doesn't talk well enough to be a world champion. We were upset when he beat Kane, but earlier, all of us were ripping Kane for being the same as always and not truly developing his character as he had done before his injury. We further insulted him because we felt a change was needed and for years constantly threw out there that his mask could be taken off, because we wanted to see a change. Giving a title to a stale character in need of a change, in hindsight, makes no sense. Then HBK came back for a title rematch and guess what, he won the belt, which made sense, because HBK had already won a singles match with HHH and now deserved a quick run with the title to make his comeback seem more amazing. HHH obviously won it back because HBK doesn't really do house shows. HHH does.
HHH's second reign begins with a DQ loss to Scott Steiner to set up a rematch at another PPV and people were upset that HHH kept the title after that feud, but we have all seen that Steiner really was not worthy of the World Title and had too much ring rust to work off. It could be why he is still feuding with Test. Then came Booker T and out of everyone, including myself, we all thought Booker T should be the champion. I still think that he should, but it was a really good match; HHH was on his game that night and he has proven himself more than Booker T in the past; plus with Brock Lesnar winning his title from the heel that night, one heel champion had to remain after the grand spectacular that is Wrestlemania. HHH then beat Kevin Nash twice and no one wanted to see Kevin Nash win the belt. Then he beat Goldberg in the Elimination Chamber to set up his eventual loss. He did lose and did the right thing and we still found something wrong with it, by complaining that the match should have been a squash. To request a main event be nothing but a jobber match I would see on Sunday Night Heat is absolutely ridiculous and proves that Internet fans were just not happy with HHH and looking for a way to attack and discredit him.
We continued it this week by complaining about the way HHH left RAW without being injured and such. Actually, that was quite refreshing. For once, a wrestler did not have to play out an injury angle or a loser leave town match or something like that. He just left. He may even quit RAW. He could show up on Smackdown with his wife after she quits as GM to finish off Vince McMahon or she can join him on Raw to finish off her dad and Eric Bischoff and defend Shane from a monster Kane before feuding with Evolution. What else did we want? The fans don't want HHH to retire. The fans love HHH. I have been at shows and fans have popped for HHH when he has come out. I was there when there was a 15-minute ovation for him upon his return from injury. We tried to plant a seed and in many regards it is true what we said, but we kept digging and looking for something wrong even when there wasn't in an effort to discredit him. However, when I was at a show, he still got cheered before insulting a fan favorite and getting booed. If the fans all over the world want to cheer for him at arenas, then that should tell us something, because I assume that the fans all over the world do outnumber the fans that complain on the Internet. I know that HHH abuses his power and will continue to do so, but in an age where Steve Austin is out, Rock is doing movies and there is a brand split, HHH has been that only constant. We will miss him when he is gone and we will all cheer when he returns.
Over on Smackdown, we mock the match between Vince and his daughter Stephanie. I agree, something disgusting about this match, because of the time Vince stared at his daughter's chest, but it is a McMahon match we have yet to see. It is something that I am a little curious about and it does advance a storyline as Stephanie leave Smackdown to go with HHH on their wedding and honeymoon. When Steph said she refused to quit, there were fans that applauded, a lot of them, and I saw them stand up and clap. Maybe some extra clapping was added, but they were into the McMahon drama as it unfolded. We may not want to see it, but with a show that has 7 great matches on it, one match does not have to be that good as long as it sets the stage for something interesting later on.
We also say that it makes no sense for Big Show to wrestle Eddie Guerrero when Eddie will not be able to look as good in the ring with the big man, but at the same time, we say that Eddie Guerrero should be pushed as one of the top stars, if not the top star. Guess what, he has to start somewhere and in order to prove that he deserves a world title reign someday and all the emotional drama that goes with it, he has to beat the Big Show. Big Show represents the pinnacle of heavyweights. If he can handle himself with Big Show and prove his worth to the WWE, then he should be next in line to challenge Brock. He doesn't even have to beat Big Show; just prove he belongs in the ring with him.
We lobbied and lobbied and lobbied for Chris Jericho to win the world title and when he did, apparently we didn't show our support for him, because he was a champion that no one seemed to care about despite all the accolades the WWE was making for him, having him beat Rock and Austin and be the first undisputed champion. The ratings weren't there for Jericho. Either we weren't supporting him like we said we would on the Internet, or maybe the people with the Nielsen boxes and the people who buy the tickets did not have the same ideas.
We rip a lot of things apart, but forget something. We forget that there are tons of fans out there that don't read the Internet. We forget that there are tons of fans out there that do read the Internet and don't agree with us. We forget about a bigger picture that is out there; storylines that have to advance and things that have to happen, regardless of what we think so that the storyline can take place. We forget that our opinions matter, but they should not be absolute. People do not have to agree with everything we say. We are not the ruling body of World Wrestling Entertainment. I think that whenever we post our thoughts, we need to put a little humility in the words we say. There are a lot of bad things going on in the WWE, but there are a lot of bad things going on with every television show, world events and other things going on outside. To believe that our words should be final word on a situation actually hurts our chances of being heard. When it looks like we are just on the attack and not offering constructive criticism, the WWE is not going to listen to the Internet. When it looks like we don't love wrestling anymore and are writing just to insult the product without looking for something good, then we are not going to be listened to. We are not always right. History has proven that. We are right in a lot of ways, but our words are falling on deaf ears, because when you have a nagging girlfriend who seems to have nothing nice to say, you sometimes just want to tune her out.
I ask Internet reporters to think before they write. I ask them to look at the columns they have written. How many columns have you devoted to attacking the product and how many columns have you devoted to being positive and looking at something good about the WWE in the whole column? I saw more anti-HHH columns out there than pro-Kurt Angle columns. I have seen full columns devoted to insulting HHH and the McMahons and seen partial columns for Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar and so on. When we seem to find more negative to talk about than positive, maybe we are wrong. For every HHH there is a Kurt Angle to talk about. For every McMahon, there is a John Cena, a Trish Stratus, a Brock Lesnar and so on. For every bad Raw match, there is a great Smackdown match and vice versa. For every missed spot, there is a series of fantastic moves that should be recognized. Don't get too caught up in insulting the WWE that you forget about why you write your columns week in and week out. We love this sport and there is still a lot to love. We need to find the things we love and talk about them. For the fans that do read the Internet and do believe what we say and are looking for a reason to go back to the WWE, we should be giving them reasons. They are out there and while we should still be critical, be constructive and try to find something positive.
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