Dear Professional Wrestler,By Drowgoddess · · 3 Comments
Dear Professional Wrestler,
If you’re actually reading this, the staff of boredwrestlingfan.com thanks you for taking the time to check out our site. We would also like to thank you for doing what you do, entertaining us to the best of your ability in an art form that does not receive the respect that it deserves from “mainstream” sports and entertainment. You have actually made a living in this industry, and for that, we salute you.
Your chosen path is not a simple one. Though we as fans may never have attempted it ourselves, we do know that much. The physical demands, both in-ring and out, are extraordinary. You are our live-action superhero for a time, and the price you pay for doing so is well-documented. The psychological demands are possibly even more so. Constant travel, jet lag, injuries, nagging pains, missing friends and family, and advancing your own career add up. When we see you at meet-and-greets, pre-show autograph sessions, and other public appearances, you often look absolutely beat. It’s a considerable weight to carry, but we have one request that might make bearing that weight just a little bit easier. Maybe.
Remember what it was like to be a fan.
This may sound completely selfish, but bear with me. Most likely, you grew up as a wrestling fan. You’d watch your favorites and the ones you loved to hate on tv at every possible chance. You’d attend as many live shows as you were allowed, often with the hope of actually coming face to face with the one wrestler who made you want to watch and exchanging a few words. If you ever actually accomplished this, much less came away with an autograph or a photo of you with that wrestler, you’d be on that high for the next week.You remember what that felt like, don’t you?
That’s how we feel about you.
Some “fans” don’t make it easy, I know. There will always be those who say and do stupid things, the ones who truly annoy and bother you, and make you go back to your hotel room and vow to become a Buddhist monk. The rest of us hate those people too. Most of us, though we may get a bit starstruck, sincerely appreciate what you’re doing for us, and want you to know that we actually care. Being herded through the cattle-call of a standard meet-and-greet doesn’t give us time to articulate those thoughts, which is partially why we’re prone to babbling at those moments. As fans, we don’t want to be the bane of your existence, and we certainly don’t claim any special rights or privileges over you and your life just because we enjoy your professional work. Most of us are harmless, and mean well.
You’re only human, though you often don’t show it. You have bad days, just like anyone else. How many people, though, can claim hordes of loyal minions clamoring for a moment of their attention? Paying money to see them and get a piece of paper with a signature on it? An ego boost like that is something of which most people can only dream, and, to some extent or other, you have it. Revel in it! Enjoy it! Adore being adored, as it were. We are your personal army, ready to follow your commands, in a sense. We could have been anywhere today. We wanted to be around you. Remembering that might make dealing with us less stressful and unpleasant.
Consider that each person who lines up for an autograph, photo, or brief chat may be meeting you for the one and only time in his entire life. He may have dreamed of this moment for years. He may have come a great distance, saved money up for months, or passed up a significant opportunity elsewhere to see you. Whether the meeting is positive or negative can seriously affect a person and how they view wrestling as a whole. Much like actors and musicians, without fans, no wrestler would have a career. This hardly means that you owe us something, but if you drive all the fans away by treating them rudely, you can’t complain when they stop turning up at all. We’re only human too.
There’s one wrestler out there who can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes. He could drive a busload of elderly nuns and crippled war orphans over the edge of a cliff, leaping out at the last second to lob a grenade through one of the windows, and stand there laughing about it as he lit a cigar from the fiery explosion, and I’d be pretty sure that those people had it coming.
That man is Austin Aries.
Why? I went from Houston to Chicago Ridge for a ROH show, which turned out to be the “Return Engagement” dvd taping. The show (which was AMAZING) had ended, and people were milling about and exiting the building as the ring was taken down. As my brother and I headed towards the door, we see Austin Aries, in street clothes, heading that way as well. My brother called out, “Austin!” He stopped and turned toward us, sporting the biggest smile imaginable. My brother apologized for bothering him on his way out, but asked if he would mind taking a quick picture with his sister. Austin Aries not only cheerfully complied, he asked us what we thought of the show. When told that seeing him live was worth the trip, he grinned and asked us from where we had come. When we said Houston, his eyes got big and he blurted out, “Shit!” He thanked us for coming and supporting ROH. We told him how much we enjoyed his work, and he replied that “It really isn’t work.” We chatted for another moment or so, and he told us to be careful going home. All this was said with the sincerity of talking to a friend. Even if he was just being polite, and didn’t really mean any of it, he sounded like he did. Austin Aries has a fan for life in me, and it didn’t take much effort on his part at all. You can do it too.
Whether you’re a legend who has been around for decades, or someone who has recently made it to the big time, those of us who are fans now ask that you remember the fan that you used to be when dealing with us. If you would have been crushed and devastated by having your favorite wrestler condescend to you, insult you, treat you like a waste of time, or make you feel stupid about being a passionate wrestling fan in the first place, chances are, we will be also. Please don’t.
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