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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: The Great Debate - The IWC vs... Itself
By Al Laiman
Jan 30, 2014 - 5:45:57 PM



credit Tom Jenner
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: The Great Debate - The IWC vs... Itself

The Internet Wrestling Community, or IWC (not to be confused with the International Wrestling Cartel), has been a hot topic for debate within the wrestling universe. It seems like the core belief is that the IWC has a strict tolerance for only technical wrestling and Independent Wrestlers that WWE either hasn't signed or just signed. We have a bunch of keyboard warriors singling out who they like (for that week) and are generally against anyone who is of bigger size, or who has been champion longer than two weeks or more than one time. Right?

No.

I've been invited (or added without knowledge) to several wrestling groups, in addition to being a writer here and seeing the comment section. Scrolling through my Facebook feed just proves to be an adventure every time I do it because I know exactly what I'm going to see. Someone with an opinion, others attacking that opinion, and the verbal sparring ensues.

Oh wait, that's the entire Internet.

I asked the following question on my 30 Thoughts Facebook page earlier today:

What is your opinion of the Internet Wrestling Community? Is it influential? Does it change with the wind? Do they have "flavors of the month?" Anything that comes to mind when thinking of this group. I want to know how you see it.

Here are some of the responses I got:

Jeremy Dunham: I think it depends on the situation. I would say the largest part of the IWC is where WWE and TNA are concerned. With most of the comments here, I do agree with them, that when it comes to WWE and TNA, the IWC has very little impact. What's funny to me is the people within the IWC doesn't realize it. Good example of this is I Get regular updates as I follow WWE here on Facebook. THe question asked was, "Do you know how many days until the network goes live?" I'm sure the IWC knows as it's constantly beat into our heads. That being said instead of answering the question, everyone is commenting we're not buying, we're boycotting, or whatever until CM Punk comes back (he apparently quit, I'm just finding out about this myself), put Daniel Bryan in the main event at Wrestlemania or main even period, or the constant, fire John Cena. Out of 1085 comments only one (and no it wasn't me) said, "25 days too many." So one fan is in a hurry to see the network. Truthfully, I believe the IWC has more of an impact on independent wrestling shows, and granted that may not be enough of an impact, but to me these shows are wanting to keep those fans coming back. WWE and TNA are going to make money regardless on whether we hate John Cena, we can't see CM Punk, and so on.

Caleb Acker: I don't think the IWC has any impact at all. Last year was living proof of that. Punk wa the longest reigning world champ in years. Only to lose to The Rovk twice. The IWC complained about it. Then we got Rock/Cena 2 at Wrestlemania. They bitched about it! Punk was then put on idol mode i too Summerslam where he faced another part timer in Brock Lesnar. He lost that match too. Bryan won the world title for a month. And he has been screwed out of it for months now. This makes the IWC and everyone else mad but they still watch. If Bryan wins the belt they will love him for the first few months. Then they will compare him to Cena. WWE is smart because they are going to draw out this storyline as long as possible. Just to ensure that everyone watches. And then the payoff will finally happen. That's what best for business.

Mark Adams I think the stereotype is that they are finicky and very disestablishmentarian (as it applies generally, not to a church). If the general community like it IWC sees it a rubbish. John Cena is a great example. When he was new, the IWC loved the guy. Now that he is the standard bearer for the E, the IWC can't stand him. It wasn't overnight by any means. However, the longer the man stays on top, the more prone he is to being despised by the IWC.

I also think they have misplaced themselves in regards to importance. They have place themselves on a pedestal that they created. While it is an interesting and provocative sub-culture, it is only one sub-culture. And certainly not the only, or largest.

Becky Baker: I think it gives people an excuse to be mean, and gives them the idea that they can say whatever they want without any reprocussions. It's gotten so nasty sometimes that I've had to turn away and ignore it, lest I get pulled into the negativity and hatred.

Aviad Cohen: You would have to be a complete fool for following the IWC on a weekly basis. With that said - you (as WWE or TNA) are getting a free sneak peak into your viewers minds. Take whatever is written with a grain of salt, but by all means - take some in. In example - the IWC was not behind Batista coming in and taking the cake from hard working guys. It was VOICED heavily at the RR. Then again - who do we take in account ? Is it only the main sites with most hits ? Who is the IWC ? How many are they ? Is there a correlation between viewership and IWC contempt ?
It's so darn easy to voice an opinion when you're behind a keyboard, not having to pay the price of a wrong creative decision. We could all replace WWE creative, or could we ?
Should the creative read the IWC and not the Social Media responses ? Yes. Should they abide by it as if it was a bible ? No. You take a direction and read what people want, give them some of it but not all. But for Gods' sake - don't ignore them. Both Punk and Bryan suffered some pretty bad bookings as of late and still the IWC wants them. I say - find a common spot and do some of it.
IWC - to hell with us, we are a tough mistress to please...

Craig John Russell Banks i believe we can be influential but only if we influencing the people going to live shows to boo and cheer the right people. just look at the daniel bryan situation. flavor of the month? yeah sometimes lol. but cena is a perrenial douche. that flavor never changes.

Everyone within the community has an opinion on the IWC as a collective, and none of these posters are wrong... about some people. But I think it's a mass labeling of a huge group of people that isn't really accurate of what is going on in this interesting subculture.

No matter what opinion I see posted on any given day, I'll see something along these lines.

"Why isn't WWE pushing Daniel Bryan?"
"Daniel Bryan is so boring."
"All you IWC smarks are crying about xyz."
Rage. Rage. Rage.

I don't know where this idea of the huge collective of binobos secretly coming together to agree on everything is, but I'd like to meet them, because all I see in the IWC is constant fighting over not only opinions, but distancing themselves from the idea of being in the IWC... when they are in the IWC.

I'm part of the IWC. I write about wrestling on the Internet. You're part of the IWC, you're reading this. Those aforementioned parties are part of the IWC, because they're commenting on wrestling on the Internet. All of them. The IWC is no longer a small but vocal part of the fanbase, but a huge group of fans from varying places and backgrounds coming together to bitch about what they like and don't like.

Go to any page about a movie, musician... In fact, read reviews or comment sections on anything, and remove WWE/TNA/ROH/etc. with whatever the topic is at hand, and it's the same argument. The IWC is not this group of people pushing hard for things as a cohesive unit determined to have technical wrestling and Indy stars take over the world.

Why does it seem like the opinions on the Internet tend to change when someone else becomes champion or gets pushed? Because the people who are getting what they want are happier and aren't inclined to bitch, while those who hate that person/thing/purple start to bitch. It's not the Internet Wrestling Community, it's the Internet. The people inclined to be heard the most are those who are bitching about something. The claim can be made that it's anonymity, but message boards have been replaced by social media with your names attached. People want their opinions to be heard more than ever, and when you pronounce something about anything, someone is going to fight with you about it.

It seems like there's a lot of negativity in the IWC because there's a lot of negativity on the Internet, and by proxy, the world. The mean world syndrome perpetuated by media anymore runs rampant. The reason that people seem to disagree now is because they have access with people with whom to disagree. The only other place that could happen before was at the shows themselves.

The best part is when the "Internet" fans get blamed by non-fans for ruining things. Case in point, the Royal Rumble in Pittsburgh. That rambunctious crowd reacting to not getting what they wanted to see was adored by some, and despised by others. What a coincidence that it was Daniel Bryan haters bitching about those IWC fans ruining the show for not getting what they want. Bitching about Internet fans while being on the Internet as a wrestling fan. Sorry guys, we're all a part of this.

Now, opinions are pretty split about the actions of CM Punk. Some support his protest, others bitch about IWC fans complaining about their hero going away and with whom they will replace it. It's a headache to think about, but it is a vicious cycle. Internet fans supposedly like something, and then other Internet fans live to hate it, and those first Internet fans hate the second Internet fans for being negative, and so it goes.

If you're reading this site, if you're posting in these groups... You're a part of the Internet Wrestling Community. There is no ubiquitous opinion in the IWC, because just like the real world, nobody agrees on everything about anything. It's like in politics, where one group bitches about the other in blanket statements, when in actuality, the label they apply to half the population isn't any more fair than believing they're associated with a larger group simply by involvement. The more you group people together, the more their individual opinions are lost in the fold and grouped as one. Nobody has the same opinions down the line. Nobody.

My name is Al Laiman, and I'm a member of the Internet Wrestling Community, and so are you. I guarantee I disagree with all of you about many things, but we're all here because we like professional wrestling. I think that's pretty cool. Just please stop spoiling RAW for me before I see it!


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