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Ignoring Smart Fans Damages Your Product

Rating: 6 votes, 3.00 average.
I just had a stray thought enter my mind while reading a couple of threads on the forums. I was looking at the Bray Wyatt thread and people were talking about how he's out for 6 months due to a shoulder injury, and how he can fill the time by building a stable and cutting promos.

Let's assume Bray builds a stable, and gets guys to do his dirty work for him. Let's assume that it's played off like Bray doesn't have an injury and seems to be perfectly capable of wrestling himself but he doesn't. If you're not smart to the business and don't know what's going on, Bray's now portrayed as a coward because he won't wrestle himself. If you are smart to the business and know what's going on, you know that he can't wrestle and he's just filling time until he's cleared.

The audience is now divided. Any attempt to get smart fans to go against Bray as a coward heel is going to fall flat. Those that know he's injured and can't wrestle versus those that don't know he's injured and won't wrestle are less likely to boo Bray... thus he gets less of a reaction overall. The crowd making noise affects the crowd as a whole... that's a given, but I can't help but feel that it's also a signal to those in management about how over someone is. This is not a true reaction that you're getting because you've now taken a piece of someone's suspension of disbelief away by making something more ridiculous and/or trying to hide something from the audience when people in the audience really know what's going on.

Compare it to a magic show. One magic show has the performer pulling out all kinds of crazy illusions that nobody's ever seen before, and it's got the crowd captivated to where nobody's sitting there going "well I know how he's doing that, he's blah blah blah". The other magic show has lame tricks that people have seen countless times over and can learn how things are done via Youtube videos, and consequently has only some fans believing in it while a good portion of the audience is skeptical of the whole thing. Granted nobody's a fan of magic shows and learns how it's all done the way that we wrestling fans do it with wrestling, so it's even worse in our case.

I know what you're thinking... wrestling's entertainment. Wrestling isn't trying to pass itself off like it's real in the way that magicians and illusionists all seem to live the gimmick, therefore it doesn't apply. True enough, but if the audience is supposed to suspend their disbelief, the 'real' factor has always been wrestling's strongest selling point. When something's blatantly fake, it never works as well as something that seems real... and this is the issue I have with pretending when your audience knows otherwise. Obviously we wouldn't have wrestling at all if we were to axe anything that has a degree of doubt from the audience, but I think you get what I mean.

Take Triple H's broken arm bit a while back. You can sell a fake injury, but you can't sell yourself like you don't have an injury(the hypothetical Wyatt case). The situation with Triple H was believable in the beginning... Brock broke his arm with his Kimura. There are always going to be people with a degree of doubt when they see something, but a picture leaked not long after showing Triple H with his arm being just fine. Enter the disbelief. This kind of a scenario however should be an exception, you can't have Triple H come out and say "okay we lied", it wouldn't make any sense and everyone would be worse off for it, I'm just saying that trying to conduct a show with a blatant disregard for the people that know what's going on behind the scenes is bad for business. That broken arm should've been sold 24/7, on TV and off TV. Never discount the people that are smart to these things.

Do you agree or disagree? Does it really matter in the end? Personally I think it's a subtle thing but I think it's a constant reminder that wrestling is 'fake' for the hardcore fan that doesn't necessarily want to see it that way. We know wrestling is 'fake', but it doesn't mean that that you can't therefore offer something storyline-based that's compelling to us... you've just got to work harder at it.

Small example, but people are ranting and raving about AJ at the moment. How many people are saying "this is fake, she doesn't really like any of them"? Not very many, people are into the storyline and that's not something that's crossing people's minds. How many people said "this is fake, Triple H's arm isn't really broken" when they saw that picture of him and Floyd Mayweather however? That's the difference and that's ultimately what I'm trying to get at.

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Updated 07-08-2012 at 09:29 PM by Frank



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  1. TheGreatOne's Avatar
    Ignorant blog post proclaiming you are damaging your product by not giving hardcore fans what they want. Hardcore fans like yourself are going to watch the product no matter how horrible it is. Why cater to them if they are going to stick with the product? Smart fans believe that they know what is best for the business, but they hate change. Spinner championship for example smart fans hate because it is against tradition. Smart fans who report on dirtsheets ripped the This is your life segment the day after. Ratings come in and still is to this day the highest rated segment in Raw history. The way to change your product is to cater to other fans. Not fans who watch it no matter how bad the product is. I read Bischoffs book and he didn't cater to the hardcore fans. He catered to what other fans wanted because people who claim to be smart fans will watch the product no matter how bad it is. They'll watch it and criticize claiming it should be this way or that way trying to show off how smart they are.
  2. Brendan's Avatar
    I understand what you're saying and I agree with it. I'll put it like this; the best wrestling has to at least pretend to be real and when you have things like Kane coming out from under the ring trying to drag Zack Ryder to 'hell', it just does not work.
  3. pgarcia79's Avatar
    Excellent response by thegreatone. And your right, ignoring smart fans does damage your product. AND WHAT IT ALSO DOES is EXPAND your demography, revenue stream, company growth, and ratings. That's simple buisness 101, and that's why the WWE continues to put out the product that they do. Because they understand this. My 8yr old son can't differenciate a good storyline from a bad one, but what he does know is that he likes wwe and not tna. Therefore every week he gives wwe ratings and not tna. And he has tons of wwe merchandise in his room. If TNA or any other promotion ever wants to see true growth, profits, and ratings, then they too will have to start ignoring the smart or hardcore fans also and start catering to the casual fan also.
    Updated 07-10-2012 at 09:08 AM by pgarcia79
  4. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    Hmm, interesting to read. I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that you are talking in relations to storylines only. I can see your point with the Trip arm thing cuz it was bogus to me from the get go. There was nothing to him selling the broken arm that made it "believable" to me, but that's because I have seen this way too much. Now the injured wrestler being used in a story to further character development rather than just being written off is an interesting concept. It can be used to advance this character and also give them a little time to work on both mic skills and character advancement, as well as building up other stars (if that's what you're saying with the stable idea) by using them as drones for hire to do their bidding.

    Honestly, this would be a great move for someone in the current situation as Bray because it would still get him to TV and also bring a few more to television. This however, doesn't work if he is hiring the likes of a JTG, Cesaro, etc. because why would they listen to a guy who has never been on TV? I do think the stable idea works with Bray being in a manager’s role until he is "forced" to compete after the injury heals, but that also takes into a count a LOT of story time to continue pushing Bray. I could see this working with a guy currently on roster that isn't "well known" but Bray's reach in this is only limited to FCW, unless they are willing to bring in more FCW talent with him (Rollins, Woods, etc.) That's just my opinion though, but interesting thought none the less.
  5. Viperfish's Avatar
    I think some are missing the point with "not giving hardcore fans what they want". I'm talking about some sort of continuity with real life. I -can't- cheer or boo for a coward heel that won't wrestle if I know he's injured and can't wrestle, it's blatantly fake and it doesn't grab my attention. It's a performance, yes, but this affects a live crowd reacting to what's going on in the arena. It's the same thing when you compare two guys that know how to work in the ring versus two guys that can't work and are blatantly whiffing their punches and kicks, one's clearly faker than the other and you don't get the same crowd reaction.

    I'm not talking about appealing to hardcore fans only, like bringing back legends if I can use that as an example. It somehow worked for Vader... I chalk it up to the crowd that night, but it hasn't worked as well for Lauper, Sid, Doink and DDP. It's clearly an issue of kids not knowing who these people are, and that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about some sort of continuity with reality for people that are into what goes on behind the scenes.
  6. Kaisered's Avatar
    So do you want things to look like before the MSG incident???
  7. Audioslave's Avatar
    The way i see it is it's not wwe for ignoring the smart marks that causes a problem it's the internet leaking shit out. I guarantee if u ignorant people didn't come on the Internet and just watched wrestling everything would be dandy and you'd be talking bout it with your friends instead of just coming on here. The only reason I'm on this site is to read the results of smackdown and tna and ppvs as I actually have a life.......
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