Looking At How Social Media Is Killing Pro Wrestling

The internet and social media have become powerful and vastly influential tools in modern-day society. Ever-increasing popularity, as well as their incredible uses and benefits have allowed them to complete engulf our world, for the better and for the worse. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are considered to be two internet powerhouses, reaching millions of people in all corners of the globe and forming pathways of communication on an international scale. Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages to social media, it’s outreach and power has developed to the point that many people would struggle without it.

Just like with the rest of the world, social media also has a profound impact on the way we view and experience wrestling. WWE now have Twitter account on top of Twitter account, as well as Instagram services and multiple Facebook pages. On the surface, this may seem like a great idea, but in reality I feel strongly that the product is suffering as a result, and here’s why.

Let’s take a look at Twitter as an example. Every single WWE superstar and management figure has a Twitter account, which is all well and good until you have superstars such as Bray Wyatt and Kane using such a service. These men are portrayed on television as monsters, but who in their right mind would expect a monster to have a Twitter account? Did Frankenstein or Godzilla have Twitter accounts? No they absolutely didn’t, and people had absolute belief in ther power and intentions as a result.

Terms like “kayfabe” and “the fourth wall” are thrown around regularly in wrestling. The internet has completely destroyed any remnants of kayfabe in recent years, and fans are now left with reality characters rather than gimmicks, as mysterious and larger than life characters seldom get over in this day and age. On top of the this, you have the rather annoying and glaring fact that surprises are now almost non-existent. When Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012, it was an epic moment, but imagine how much greater it would’ve been had people not known about it, and the same can be said for Hulk Hogan’s return in 2014. Now I know why WWE encourages the internet to leak such information; to increase viewing and buy rates for events. It makes sense as people are able to anticipate a good show knowing that they will witness great television and storyline development.

Chris Jericho’s return at the 2013 Royal Rumble, as well as John Cena’s return five years earlier, are two examples of how great a true surprise can be in wrestling. Both men avoided social media and the crowds and viewers were rewarded with spectacular moments, made ever the better by their lack of expectation and knowledge.

Also, through people like Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez, fans are permitted easy access to upcoming storylines, as well as backstage rumours and reports. Though this sounds appealing, it also means that if and when the reports do come to fruition, there is far less genuine surprise and fans may have already made their minds up as far as being interested in the feud or not.

Years ago, fans were not aware that wrestling was “fake” until much later in their lives. Why? Because they didn’t have the technologica means to find out, and when you have that level of INVESTMENT and belief in what you are watching for such a long time, more often than not you will love the product. Nowadays, fans think beyond the show. Instead of enjoying matches and storylines, fans enter a realm of critical analysis, where they think about why the feud is happening, or about how it was planned out backstage.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

  • holly

    sometimes less is more!! nothing is left to the imagination anymore!! everything is just out there!! i loved wrestling as a child and believed with all my heart that it was real! no one could tell me it was fake!!!

    • Michael Rubin

      holly its not fake the guys suffer tremendous pain its just not an actual athletic contest most of the time. fake is a misnomer

  • Noel Lackey

    Agree with all of this. Not only facebook/twitter but also news sites (not bashing you!!) But, too many times I have seen reports slandering a star almost to encourage hatred against said star. Again just a general statement against news sites, not bashing you. Also, it only takes one doofus to spread hate online and others will happily join in. Just look at the comments under any WWE facebook post.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3769949/ thatpj

      Yes! I said same thing above. Webmasters use their sites to slander and tear down rather then celebrate or critique.

  • Venice Joe Pettijohn Jr.

    Eh. WWE overuses the platform, and uses it improperly.

    But as an independent booker, social media is just as important to the success of your show as a ring and workers. It is the way you keep your fans involved in the show and your product between shows. If a promotion runs one show a month (as most do) social media is the way you keep building your stories, and building your interest. Otherwise, you’re trying to build storylines and keep some level of continuity going a couple hours a month, and that just doesn’t work.

    When used correctly, social media is the engine that drives the car. It’s not killing the business because WWE have incorrectly over-saturated the market with it.

    The internet isn’t killing this business. Fans being smart isn’t killing this business.

    The fact is, the fans who ARE smart to the business, the fans who DO read the internet for news are about 5% of the overall audience.

    What IS killing this business? The WWE. They are trying to eradicate wrestling for what it REALLY is, and they are trying to turn it into THEIR brand of ENTERTAINMENT. The WWE doesn’t want people who are smart to the business to be fans of theirs. They want an audience who will accept and gobble up whatever crap they put on, and never have the slightest inkling that it isn’t a quality product. The WWE wants, AND HAS BUILT an audience who unquestioningly buys whatever they sell.

    WWE’s dismissal of the WRESTLING BUSINESS will lead to less and less ACTUAL WRESTLING FANS, replacing them with “the WWE universe” accepting ONLY the WWE product as “wrestling”. (THAT is the #1 reason TNA has failed to grow. Everyone thinks their product is inferior to WWE’s because it’s not WWE’s)

    You can make the sheets and social media out to be the boogeyman if you wish. I know better. This business is being killed from the top down, and too many people can’t see it happening around them as the WWE’s monopoly continues to grow, and what this business REALLY is evaporates around them.

  • ShadowBroker

    Great article Oliver, and couldn’t agree more.

    However the truth is most of the WWE fans (or TNA even) on Twitter, that are constantly tweeting, are kids or young and honestly still do not understand that wrestling is fake. Just go looking at all the supporter tweets during a Cena match or beatdown, calls for whomever did it to be fired for picking a fight, ect.

    I’ve said this before and still think it true. The IWC and Wrestling News sites, no offense, are what has really killed the ‘shock’ nature of Wrestling. Soon as a rumor is heard, some site posts it, others pick up on it, it gets shared and suddenly the shock return of Jericho on RAW even after his trouble to show he wasn’t even in the city, is ruined.

    All in all though, there is nothing we can do about it. Social Media is what the world runs on today.

  • Kiran Sahonta

    Social media is not killing pro wrestling. For so many Indy promotions the internet has given them such amazing ways to gain a following. WWE is dying because WWE is shit. I hate this idea that fans should just be lemons that sit and watch and not have an opinion. Why is there at least half n hour of analysis before and after every single sports game that airs on tv?

    • Mrs.Ambrose #TeamAmbrose

      WWE is going strong.

      • Kiran Sahonta

        You are actually right, I was just a bit empassioned reading the article. We can both agree though that it is not what it once was and there’s lots of reasons as to why that is and I would definitely not count social media as one of those reasons

  • arlowoodenhead

    Kids, at least American kids, learn pretty quickly that nothing on TV is real. So what? This whole argument about real and fake is absurd. Wrestling is scripted, just like gymnastics or soap operas. That being said, it is still very punishing to wrestlers bodies and I know I could never get up from many of the moves they routinely endure.
    The bottom line is, as Russel Crowe said, it’s all about the plot. Are they telling a good story outside the ring and inside the ring? Then they’ll succeed.

  • Mrs.Ambrose #TeamAmbrose

    Social Media is not killing pro wrestling.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3769949/ thatpj

    Eh, I don’t think social media is killing wrestling. It is something wrestling needs to adapt too. I do think the internet in general is hurting wrestling more. I mean there are websites out there accusing the most innocuous things of atrocious offenses, it really brings down the level of conversation.

  • Bryan

    you do get attacked if someone doesn’t like your opinion. but don’t care about who’s dating who. i think social media is good for wrestling until it comes to WWE, then you realize that alot of wwe don’t seem as smart as your njpw and roh fans. but if something is actually killing the wwe, then it’s from within that corporation. i mean look who they’re grooming to be the next top guy. a guy who everyone has made excuses for, but their is no excuse for him to not at least be a good talker by now. i’d somewhat tolerate him then even though he still does nothing for me the ring

  • Melissa

    The Undertaker is not on twitter…..

  • Michael Rubin

    wrestling isnt fake oliver, its a misnomer fake insults the dedication and hard work that the wrestlers do in order to entertain the fans, wrestlers get hurt as much as any of the legitimate sports

  • Jordan Ryan

    the points made about wyatt & kane being on social media kind of takes the edge off the character a litle, think if wwe dropped a small hint about a return fans would enjoy it more, like y2j return a few weeks ago, the return of a multi-media player them miz walks out, great nobody would have guessed, then the pyro hit and y2j walks out. small hints will keep viewers watching