The Ballad Of Maxxine Dupri

This really is the participation trophy generation.

Last week, Maxxine Dupri went viral when a video of her post-match at a WWE live event surfaced on social media. The crowd was booing and among the jeers, some local yokel yelled, “you suck, Maxxine. Don’t come back.” After the video made the rounds online, several of her peers, including some of the top stars from the WWE women’s division, came to her defense with messages of support.

According to Wikipedia, the real-life Sydney Zmrzel is the young lady that portrays the Maxxine character in the WWE. Assuming her legal name listed online is accurate, it should be noted that the fans rejected the in-ring work of the Maxxie Dupri persona, not the real-life Zmrzel.

If the jeers from the live audience were too much for Zmrzel or any of her peers to handle then perhaps they are in the wrong business. I don’t think anyone can to the defense of Giant Gonzalez when his career was universally panned, even though anyone that knew him can still tell you how nice of a guy he was outside of the ring.

Keep in mind, the entire premise of the pro wrestling business, even when its presented as sports entertainment, is based on the heat or support from the audience. This isn’t Disney on Ice where Mickey and Minnie get applauds just for going through the usual routine that they take on tour in different cities. The term, “you suck” is not only common place and relatively harmless within pro wrestling, it’s literally a part of Kurt Angle’s entrance so it isn’t something overly offensive for the context of a pro wrestling show. Furthermore, there’s obviously a clear line of common sense and what would be considered going too far in terms of what the audience chants or says to a performer. Nothing that was said to or about Maxxine was vulgar or out of line within the scope of a live event.

Remember, the audience criticized her wrestling ability or lack thereof, not her real-life character or made some claim that she’s a terrible person. The 26-year-old has a background in cheerleading and dance so clearly she’s athletic, but that doesn’t automatically mean that she can be a successful pro wrestler on national television. She did well in her role as a valet, but has no prior wrestling experience so maybe it wasn’t time for her to perform in front of a live audience, or maybe being a pro wrestler simply isn’t for her. There’s nothing wrong with that or would make her be less successful if her role on the show is as a non-wrestler.

At the same time, the blame might be on management for either rushing her into live matches before she was truly ready to work in front of a crowd or trying to make her a wrestler in the first place. The downside of her being signed with no wrestling experience is that while it gets her into the developmental system as soon as they can, she had no chance to learn the ropes on the smaller circuit and thus make the rookie mistakes on a stage where most people wouldn’t see it anyway.

That’s another problem created within the modern era of social media, not only are the platforms usually a cesspool, everyone has a smart phone to record matches at events that aren’t televisied so there’s no way to contain the rookie mistakes just to the fans in the building. Among the problems with social media, and this situation in particular,you have to wonder if the fans that claimed to be so offended and outraged for Maxxine were actually upset or if they simply wanted to give themselves credit for being a social media warrior? Isn’t it ironic that all of the sudden, there are so many dedicated Dupri fans? It reminds me of when there are the extensive releases from the WWE, and suddenly those that got cut from the company are unanimously praised on Twitter because some fans think that if they are contrarian that they can score social media points. No Way Jose never had some many fans until he was released from his contract.

Manufactured outrage is undoubtedly a part of the social media sphere, and I’d guess that when this video surfaced, enough fans wanted to be noticed or attempted to try to “prove that they know more” when out of nowhere Dupri’s currently non-existent wrestling ability had to be defended. When it went viral, her friends on the roster supported her, which is fine and understandable, but everyone that commented on the situation should realize what business this is. There wasn’t this level of outrage when Lacey Evans’ underwhelming matches were boo’ed on television and criticized online. While the office didn’t do her any favors with the illogical random character switches, ultimately, Lacey Evans wasn’t a good pro wrestler or sports entertainer so she pursued other career options.

Again, the entire point of pro wrestling is to get a reaction from the audience, if the crowd is just supposed to be happy to be there then they can watch amateur sports at the local YMCA. Pro wrestlers, music acts, or any other form of live entertainment aren’t owed unanimous praise from the audience just for being there. That’s part of giving the audience their money’s worth or at the very least, acknowledging that the fans have the right to voice their discontent since they paid for a ticket. The jeers from the audience might be disappointing for a talent, particularly if that wasn’t the intent with the presentation, but quite frankly, it’s a part of the live entertainment business. The fans bought a ticket and have the right to express their opinion, and as mentioned, the criticism toward Dupri wasn’t anything over the line. Sports entertainment is a business based on profit and along with that, there can be rightful criticism of a performance. If Fozzy had a subpar performance on stage or Chris Jericho had an underwhelming match in the ring, the audience would have just as much right to express their discontent with it. If some yo-yo tries to be a comedian and gets boo’ed off stage during an open mic night, nobody should have to cater to their subpar performance.

Dupri’s colleagues have said that she’s a wonderful person, and I’d be willing to bet that she is a great person in real-life outside of pro wrestling, but that doesn’t mean the fans that bought a ticket have to pretend to enjoy her match if it wasn’t good. She’s getting paid to work for the WWE, if she can’t handle the potential negative reaction then maybe live entertainment isn’t for her. The fans paid for entertainment, and if Dupri had a rough day at the office then there’s no reason that the audience has to pretend that she’s the next Trish or Lita so that it doesn’t hurt her feelings.

The other side of the coin is that while she’s in her rookie phase of wrestling, and shouldn’t be given false praise just because some fans on social media want to ignore her lack of experience, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t eventually going to emerge as a stellar pro wrestler. It’s very possible that within a few years she could be a very polished talent and this underwhelming house show performance will be moot. The bottom line is, Maxxie Dupri doesn’t have to be praised or given a participation trophy just for showing up, and that philosophy definitely isn’t going to make her a star either.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail [email protected] | You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, & Threads @jimlamotta89