Dr. Wrestling:The Chris Jericho Incident
A few weeks ago during the WWE’s tour of Brazil, Chris Jericho was wrestling WWE champion, CM Punk and during the match a Brazilian flag was given to him from the fans. Jericho, the heel in the match, kicked the flag in an attempt to get heat from the crowd, which is usually what a heel is supposed to do in a match. However, the flag incident created a major controversy, reportedly almost getting Jericho arrested at the event. As a result of the flag kicking, Jericho was suspended for thirty days and he claims on Twitter he is done with the WWE. Jericho has used Twitter in an attempt to swerve fans in the past so it’s possible he will return to the WWE, but since news of the suspension, many people question if Jericho actually deserved to be suspended for something that doesn’t seem too unusual for pro wrestling. Haven’t heels being insulting flags in wrestling for decades? Didn’t the Unamericans threaten to burn the American flag on Raw almost a decade ago? There’s a few different prospective on the situation so let’s discuss it.
The WWE is the undisputed #1 on top of the sports entertainment mountain with TNA basically #3 behind both Raw and Smackdown, which seems to give the WWE the ability to attempt to reshape the industry into a prepacked product where they tell the audience how to respond to the product, instead of the spontaneous reaction from the crowd. Let’s consider the successful formula that was used in wrestling for decades, a hero that the crowd can support and a hated heel. The more heat a heel can generate from the crowd, it translates into more of a draw for the company. Basically, Jericho did exactly what a heel is supposed to do and generate heat from the crowd. I don’t want to stray away from the Jericho situation, but it should be noted that generating heat from the crowd and the crowd supporting the hero to battle the villain creates an emotional investment in the product. It’s the emotional investment that draws money because the product is more than just being simply entertained. If the product lacks an emotional investment, it becomes interchangeable with any other entrainment option. There’s a lot of variety for the entertainment dollar and the emotional investment used to support a hero to comeback in a match against a hated heel is what has the audience spend their entertainment dollar on a wrestling event, rather than another entertainment option.
I understand why the WWE suspended Jericho, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. That being said, There’s different customs and culture in Brazil so it was probably something the WWE had to do as more as an apology to Brazil rather than a punishment for Jericho, but you have to wonder if it was because of Linda McMahon’s Senate run?
Until next week
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