Ignoring Smart Fans Damages Your Product
by, 07-07-2012 at 10:41 PM (5514 Views)
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.