A smark is defined according to Wikipedia as “a phrase coined by Internet wrestling fans to describe a fan who enjoys pro wrestling despite or because they know that it is scripted, as well as generally knowing the “ins-and-outs” of the company and knowing many things about the industry or wrestlers collected by sources and are posted online. “Smarks” are generally looked down on by wrestlers as well as other wrestling fans for supposed inability to suspend their disbelief. Smarks may also be criticized for believing they know more than they do in reality about the workings of the wrestling industry.”

First of all, my confession. I am a smark. I know wrestling is predetermined. I also have been a subscriber of www.pwinsider.com for well over 10 years. (Well, going back to their days at 1Wrestling) I’ve read books by Mick Foley, Terry Funk & Jerry Lawler. I know some insider terms but just what has leaked to the world via the Internet. I know some wrestlers’ real names, but that only comes from being a fan for a long time. Yes, I know that wrestling is predetermined. This may not be an exact quote, but I believe Lance Storm once said “Predetermined does not necessarily mean fake.” This should not be a newsflash for anybody. Yet I still go, and I still respect it for the art form that it can be. Contrary to popular belief, I do not live in mother’s basement. I have a beautiful wife and daughter.

Second of all, this part is for the smarks. Wrestling has given us a lot. Remember Kurt Angle-HBK at Wrestlemania 22? Stone Cold-Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13? Savage-Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3? What about “The Night the Line Was Crossed” in ECW? Eddie Guerrero-Rey Misterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc ’97? All the TLC matches? Sabu-Terry Funk in the barb wire match at Hard Wired? The cage match in TNA where Elix Skipper ran off the top of the cage? Or the first Ultimate X match? Or the Low Ki-Danielson-Daniels 3-way match at the first Ring of Honor show?

And those are just the matches. Think of the wrestlers. Eddie Guerrero, AJ Styles, Curt Hennig, Dean Malenko, Terry Funk, Ricky Steamboat, Edge, Christian, Pre-drug Jeff Hardy, Pre-Hostess Twinkies Matt Hardy, The Dudley Boys, Sabu, Taz, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio, Low Ki, Homicide, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Samoa Joe, Nigel McGuiness, Doug Williams,Tyler Black, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kings of Wrestling, Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns, Mike Awesome, Masato Tanaka, the nation of Japan.

And we’ve had our villains. Anybody with the last name of McMahon, WWE Creative, Kevin Dunn, Triple-H, Chyna, X-Pac, Billy Gunn, Test, Katie Vick, the Dusty finish, Eric Bischoff, the contents of Baby Doll’s envelope, the driver of the Hummer, Robocop, Hulk Hogan, David Arquette, the Great Khali (even though I still love him), John Cena, Mark Madden and our ultimate anti-Christ-Vince Russo.

These people here have given everything for us (except for maybe Mark Madden). We owe them everything. When you go to a local independent wrestling show, you should see it as an opportunity to give back. The Bible says “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” Remember, just because you go to a local indy show, you’re not going to see Flair-Steamboat every time. What you are going to watch are two guys who are getting to do the thing they love before a group of people. You’ll see some good matches, and you might see some “works-in-progress” (my nice way of saying sucky matches). Some of you sit there with your arms crossed waiting for somebody to do Teddy Hart moonsaults off the top of the building onto shards of glass in a vat of alcohol. (I’m sure we’d all like to see Teddy Hart do that, btw.)

When you go a wrestling show, you need to get into it. You know who the faces and the heels are. Cheer them. Boo them. (An exception is the “Heel Section.” Those guys crack me up, and they get the fans more into it.) Heckle the heels. When the referee asks you if the guy cheated, tell them. Buy a t-shirt. Get your polaroid taken at the intermission. This is your chance to go out and stimulate the economy.

You can still be a “smart” fan. I tried the El Generico “Ole!” chant for my local luchador. The fans never joined me. I’ll also heckle my local wrestlers. Like, Local Wrestler #1 says they don’t have a match tonight. I’ll cheer. Don’t get in the way of the match. It’s disrespectful and not funny. Don’t call a wrestler by their real name. I know some outside of my local promotion, and when I see them live at the show, I always repeat to myself “His name is [name].  His name is [name].”

Let’s face it. Some of you are jealous. Some of you would love to step in the ring, but either don’t have the size or the courage. You’ll never be happy with what goes on in the ring because you wish you could be in it. You think you’re the cat’s whacker because you know who Kenta Kobashi is. There were a group of fans at a local indy that got in the way of the show because they wanted a job. If you truly love wrestling, you want to make it succeed. Your attitude creates whether you will enjoy it or not.

I, of course, wanted to be involved in the wrestling industry. I went so far as to call a few schools about information about being things like a referee/manager. But I had a lot of different roads to travel, and as much as I wish wrestling was on my road, it wasn’t. But I still like to help in the business. My way of doing that now is to pay, be an unofficial crowd plant and then to give my opinion afterwards.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. A lot of you have a lot of experience as wrestling fans. You know what you enjoy and what you don’t. Just remember that the wrestlers are people with feelings and emotions and families. I write a review for my local promotion. While I was terrified at first, they seemed to appreciate it. I also don’t rip them a new one because they don’t do a 1260 splash off a 3rd story building onto a bed of thumbtacks. I just go into it knowing that I’m not a wrestler, and I just have one opinion.

We have been given so much, and it’s time we give back.

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