So apparently there’s been this thing brewing around tonight’s Raw in Chicago. We all know a Chicago crowd is going to be raucous no matter what, but adding in the recent friction between WWE and WWE fans, coupled with CM Punk’s departure the night after the Rumble is probably going to result in the boiling point of all this… whatever it is you want to call what’s been happening to WWE lately. My personal word of choice is “frustration.”
So some elements of the internet, I hesitate to say Chicago crowd because I think a lot of folks on the bandwagon don’t even live in Illinois or the surrounding area, have taken it upon themselves to start the #HijackRAW movement. Here is their mission statement of sorts (I hate the phrase ‘mission statement,’ by the way):
Now, I’ve spent the better part of the five years I’ve been writing about wrestling slamming this kind of self-entitled, put-ourselves-over nonsense, but quite frankly, I’m tired. Instead of talking about why this is wrong and stupid, let’s make it better. Let’s #MakeRawFun.
In all honesty, most of this stuff is pretty harmless if done right, so let’s go down the list of Dos and Don’ts:
DO: Turn your back to Batista/Orton/HHH/Stephanie McMahon segments
Definitely do this for Triple H, that would be awesome. If you could get a sizable portion of the TV audience to literally turn around when HHH is on-screen, it would be the greatest crowd reaction since Miz Girl. Hell, they’d put that in his TitanTron.
You can turn your back for Randy Orton too, but when you turn around, keep walking up the stairs and buy some nachos.
DON’T: Chant “same old shit” if any of those people wrestle.
Unacceptable. Don’t mess with a TV broadcast by chanting stuff that’s going to cause them to pull the audio or mess with the delay. Besides, making noise is all that matters to WWE, if you’re chanting, they’re doing their job. If you genuinely don’t want to see Orton, Batista or HHH wrestle, go to the concession stand. Did you listen to John Cena on Steve Austin’s podcast? They were talking about the Rumble and the crowd revolt against the match, Cena’s reaction? He loved it. Saying the only time a wrestler needs to worry is when the crowd goes to get a t-shirt. Want to send a message? Leave the crowd during Orton’s match and go buy Daniel Bryan’s t-shirt.
DO: Chant “NO NO NO” at HHH/Bryan, chant “YES YES YES” for Bryan
Perfectly acceptable. Have fun, blow the roof off the place for Bryan, cheer whenever the prospect of Bryan as WWE Champion comes up. Nothing wrong with booing when a match with HHH comes up either, just like the crowd let JJ Dillon know that Sting wanted Hogan when he could only communicate via sign, like Wile E. Coyote.
DON’T: Chant “CM Punk” relentlessly
Is Punk coming back tonight? I don’t know. If he’s on-screen, chant “CM Punk!” if he’s not, don’t. If Punk’s coming back tonight, you’ll get to chant your little hearts out. If he’s not, there’s clearly nothing that can be done to bring these two parties back together right now, so just let it go. WWE knows you want to see CM Punk, say what you will about their creative direction of the last year, they want you to see CM Punk too. But maybe Punk doesn’t want to be seen? In that case, respect his decision to walk away and cheer for the people that are there.
DO: Chant “We Want Ziggler.”
But, buyer beware, you also chanted “We Want Ryder” and we know how that turned out.
DON’T: Cheer “Let’s Go Wyatts”
They’re bad guys. Bad guys with a cool mystique. Respect the mystique and respond to them appropriately, boo them. I know this one’s a bit of a stretch, even WWE encourages you to cheer for who you want, but the Wyatts don’t need a pep squad, they need to be feared. Booing a heel who’s doing their job is the ultimate sign of respect, I loved Edge, but booing him at his peak was some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a wrestling show.
And I’m going to add some that aren’t on the list:
DO: Be a part of the show
A lot of people are bashing this movement as a bunch of delusional nerds, but let’s not automatically dismiss the entire thing. Isn’t it nice that there are people who care enough about wrestling who are willing to make some noise and have fun out there? A hot crowd can make a bad show good and a dead crowd can make a good show bad, so let’s celebrate the fact that we’re almost guaranteed an exciting show. I’d much rather have a loud, if perhaps slightly unruly, crowd than one sitting on their hands.
DON’T: Be the show
But don’t take that as an excuse to be an asshole. “JERRY LAWLER!” “JBL!” “HUSKY HARRIS!” and “YOU FUCKED UP!” chants have got to go. Permanently. Remember, you are the third man in the ring, you are not the man in the ring, a very important distinction that “smart” crowds often don’t get. This is not ECW, ECW’s been gone for a long, long time, this is WWE. It’s not the theater, you don’t have to applaud politely, it’s not stand-up comedy where your job is only to laugh, but there is a line that we as fans often cross.
At the end of the day, you paid your money, you get to do whatever you want, provided you don’t ruin someone else’s experience or jeopardize the show by getting the audio pulled, throwing something in the ring, or hopping the rail (though I do love when wrestlers beat the shit out of rail hoppers). Basically… have fun. I know it’s been a frustrating time to be a wrestling fan, I’m so annoyed as of late with the mind-boggling storytelling they have going on, but being an asshole isn’t going to do anything except widen the gap between the industry and its fans.
so well put. respect the art, and while part of that respect means, “go fucking nuts,” know the limits of the medium.
What the title means
The best person to define the WWE Championship is CM Punk, who did so in a monologue from January 21, 2013 (sorry it’s a bit long, but I didn’t want to cut anything out):
What I have here, I hold more dear to my heart than most men hold their families. This is my life’s work, and for 428 days, I have proven that I am the man. But 428 days is just the fraction of the time it’s taken me to get to this point. I’ve worked half my life to attain this, the most prestigious title that WWE has to offer. And I will not allow the Rock or any man to take this from me.
The Rock is here to entertain. The Rock is here to electrify. The Rock is here to sign songs and tell jokes. I am here to hurt people and be the champion.
I will not allow the Rock to leave the Royal Rumble WWE Champion because this is why I am here. This is important. It’s important because I have made it important. It’s prestigious because I have made it prestigious. What’s prestigious to The Rock is the most meaningless, insignificant thing imaginable. It’s you. The people.
The people. The cheers. The chants. The signs. The adulation. The Rock is proud to be the people’s champion, almost as proud as I am of being a real champion.
I will not allow the Rock to become WWE Champion, because I have been in the ring with him. I have looked him square in the eye. I’ve seen all the way down in his soul, and I’ve seen why he’s so proud of the people, and being the people’s champion. It’s because he knows he cannot be this. A long time ago I was forced to make a choice between hypocritical humility and honest arrogance, and I chose honest arrogance. While the Rock foolishly chose all of you.
You can call him electrifying. You can call him the brahma bull. You can call him the great one. But what you cannot call him is champion. Because this, this belongs to me. This you earn with blood, with sweat, with tears, and for 428 days I have done just that. I have earned this. I have earned the right to be called champion. I have earned the right to be the man.
In six days, Rock, this is what you’re on a collision course with. So for six days, please, by all means, enjoy being the people’s champion. Enjoy the people. The cheers. The chants. The signs. I want you to slap every hand. I want you to wink at every hopeful look your sheep fans give you. Because I realized something a long time ago, and that’s that the people do not matter.
It doesn’t matter if I smell what the Rock is cooking. What matters is what these people cannot give you will remain rightfully around the waist of the undisputed WWE Champion. Best in the world. CM Punk.
The best person to define the World Heavyweight Championship was Edge, when he retired and surrendered:
I’m happy to be here in front of all of you. I don’t want it to get all sappy and corny, but to me, this World Heavyweight Championship has meant everything to me. Absolutely everything. I worked my entire career to hold this. But it’s not just mine, it never has been, or anyone else in that locker room. To me, each and every one of you holds a piece of this. It’s symbolic. But now it’s time for me to do what I have to do.
When people talk about what these titles mean to them, it’s always something different, but the one thing that unifies them better than any ascension ceremony is that they are a pinnacle of achievement earned only when one has truly sacrificed. But what did they get for it? What does it mean to sacrifice everything, if your title is just a symbol?
There has never been a single pro wrestler who has ever questioned why they would want to fight for these things. Titles are enchanting and hypnotizing, but they don’t really mean anything concrete. But that’s okay, because not really all that much in this world does. Most of the things we want are symbolic and metaphorical. What does more money give you? What does more acclaim give you? Where does it get you? What are we doing this for? Why are we climbing ladders and reaching upwards to the lights? Titles are just things you get before you want more titles. You fight. You claw. You give it all you’ve got. And for what?
WWE, in all their short-term thinking, actually has a great answer to this: It’s on you, man. You figure it out. That’s why Punk and Edge and anyone else who tries to define these titles only have vague notions of “everything” to go by. They can’t express it because to express it would be to limit it. But this is why we’re here. These trophies are everywhere you look. Achievements. New plateaus. Successions of successes. But you never really arrive. That’s the trick the world plays on young fools. There’s no ending. There’s no satisfaction. There’s just more.
Also, gonna say it right now:
I like Punk and R Truth together. Like, honestly, think about how boring CM Punk has been for over a month. Like, really think about it.
The way Truth came up to the ramp, literally was like, “hey, I don’t like that guy, you don’t like the other guy, wanna fight ‘em” and Punk being all, “… yuuup” was perfect.
They could even make the same kind of sense as a tag team: “dude, this guy is a little bit nuts, but he likes to fight and that’s good enough for me” is so much better than, “Paul Heyman I’m going to get you the same way I got you a few other times but this time I’m really gonna get you!!” Also, R Truth makes sense in the team cause he can just say, “I like Punk cause he always speaks DA TRUTH” and then say nothing else, please.
Give them a tag run. Please do not give them the belts, but give them a good run to let Punk reset a little bit and not FORCE him to be the “every time I open my mouth is has to be the most dramatic, incredible promo ever” guy. Seriously, just let him be a good wrestler for a little while, please again.