“Every comic book is someone’s first and maybe someone’s last.”
I thought about that quote, attributed to Stan “The Man, Who Probably Heard Jack Kirby Say It” Lee, watching the last episode of “Monday Night Raw”, the sendoff show before this Sunday’s WrestleMania. If this really was someone’s last WrestleMania, what would going back mean?And what if it was because they saw Brock Lesnar on “SportsCenter” Tuesday announce his new contract with the WWE? Could they follow the feuds? Would they care? And if it’s their first show, is it someone’s last? Is it my last show? And on the eve of WrestleMania…
I don’t know if I like wrestling anymore.
My WWE network subscription lapsed, and I’m not in a real hurry to give Vince McMahon another $9.99 a month. I realize this is the most hyperbolic and empty thing a wrestling fan can say. I even have a large group of people coming over Sunday, so the WWE is getting my $10 for Wrestlemania. But honestly at my age and this particular point in my life, why would I continue giving money to a product that punishes me for watching? I’m a 49ers fan. I don’t need more contempt in my fake sports life as well. I was going to write a gimmicky preview as if I hadn’t watched wrestling before, but the longer I sat, the more I realized I didn’t care enough to write a preview with Mania just days away.
The last three years or so I started paying attention to wrestling and the WWE again. It’s been fun. But I can’t waste a whole night of my week watching the show. Pick your reason. It doesn’t matter. Whatever your complaint, the WWE has a reason and it’s not their fault. Complain that you favorite wrestler isn’t treated very well? Complain about the outdated portrayal of minorities and women? Complain about how boring the people they feature are? Complain about the writing? Complain about the wrestling? You get the same answer. You’re some dumb mark who doesn’t know anything about wrestling. Cool. I wish I didn’t. That would improve my viewing tremendously.
Star Wars, Marvel, Doctor Who are a few examples of pop culture that were dying 15 years ago and crept back in the mainstream. And they did it without losing their old fans. They engaged a passionate fan base and treated them with a modicum of respect. And guess what? Those passionate people tweet, open Etsy stores, and work as brand ambassadors for you. When you punish people for giving a shit, you make them feel like you’re taking advantage of them, and I don’t think you can do that as obviously anymore. I know Disney is shaking me loose for change most days, I just don’t mind that much. They pretend to care about the fans, but someone there actually wants to make good movies, even if sometimes they let J.J. Abrams.
They call you a mark because they are conning you. When a con works, you don’t notice. When it REALLY works? You’re happy you got played. I know magic is fake, but I still love Penn and Teller. That’s the biggest problem with wrestling right now – I can tell I am being conned. I know they don’t pay attention to the show week to week. I can tell the wrestlers aren’t having a good time, and even if you don’t show me, I’m paying attention to all the things going on behind your back because the stuff you’re doing in front of me is clumsy and poorly executed.
I sent a Facebook invite out six weeks ago, which is legally binding, and now I have a bunch of scumbags coming over to my house on Sunday to watch WrestleMania. I won’t lie to you. I’ll watch, and I’ll watch the next Raw. But it will really take something special for me to stick around past that. Rumors being rumors, they hint that something huge may happen. Wait a minute? Hints of untold greatness just out a reach, wait just a little longer and something good will happen, pay a little more money…
Shit, has anyone seen my wallet?