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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - Is Social Media Doing More Harm Than Good For The Pro Wrestling Business (And Its Employees)?
By Super Chrisss
Nov 4, 2017 - 1:15:08 PM

Tom Jenner rocks!

It has been a crazy week for the wrestling industry; so much has happened – some good, but mostly bad – that I simply must share my, well, two cents. I wasn’t planning on writing a column this week since I have been super busy juggling between two full-time jobs while getting over an annoying cold which I had the terrible luck of catching on Halloween (which also happened to be a day before my birthday). But as they say, no one cares about yesterday’s news, so I figured I would discuss these things before everyone started talking about the next hot topic.

A few days ago, my colleague and old friend Mr. Tito ripped the WWE hard for not only allowing Triple H to join The Shield at a house show in the U.K., but actually posting footage of the “one-night-only” alliance on all their social media platforms. Tito – love him or hate him – was 100% correct in his critique. It made sense for Kurt Angle to don The Shield’s signature attire at TLC two weeks ago because he had been previously promoted to replace Roman Reigns at the Pay-Per-View. Also, unlike HHH, Angle hadn’t spent the better part of the past THREE years feuding with The Shield, either individually or collectively. Everyone knew Angle was filling in for Roman so having Rollins and Ambrose present Angle with the gear earlier in the night made perfect sense. Angle also inserted himself into the main-event because AmbRollins were scheduled to face FIVE MEN in a TLC match. You’re telling me that AmbRollins really needed Triple H’s help to defeat Cesaro, Sheamus and a returning Bray Wyatt so badly that Hunter was required to act the part rather than simply be “The Cerebral Assassin”? Bullshit. HHH joining The Shield may have been a lot of fun for those in attendance, but it hurts The Shield brand moving forward. Yet another short-sighted decision by WWE…

Another victim of social media presence is a guy who went from being the IWC’s favourite NXT wrestler to public enemy number one in a heartbeat: Lio Rush. For those who aren’t aware, shortly after news broke last Sunday that Emma had been released (side note: my buddy Maverick summed up my feelings on her release almost perfectly in his latest “Requesting Flyby” column, so check that out if you haven’t already done so), Lio Rush took to Twitter and made a joke about Emma not being ready for Asuka after all. Yikes. As you can imagine, everyone from fellow NXT stars to main roster stars were FURIOUS with Rush about his comment. It didn’t take long for him to quickly delete the tweet and post something resembling an apology. Whether you agree with the Rush slander or if you think the backlash has been far too intense, it just goes to show how one simple tweet could very well result in the 22 year old not having a bright or lengthy future with the company. After all, former Tough Enough winner Josh also talked some shit about other wrestlers online and he never ended up making it to TV.

I know a lot of people hate on Total Divas and Total Bellas for exposing storylines and killing the semblance of there being any heat between female wrestlers (Nattie and Nikki Bella are BFFs on the reality shows, yet we’re supposed to think they really hate each other when they feud on SmackDown?). However, there are far fewer people who watch these shows – ratings fluctuate between 500,000 and 700,000 per episode – than follow WWE and/or these ladies on social media. Moreover, I’d be SHOCKED if even half of those viewers are also wrestling fans who tune into Raw and SmackDown every week. My mom, for instance, loves both those shows but she doesn’t watch WWE programming – ever. Meanwhile, WWE’s Instagram account has over 13 MILLION followers, while Nikki Bella herself has over 6 million followers of her own. If anything, the business is being exposed and rivalries are being portrayed as moot when these accounts post pictures of two people who are supposed to be feuding getting their hair done, side-by-side.

With all that being said, social media is indeed profitable for some, mainly WWE. By constantly dominating Facebook and Twitter two or three nights a week by getting topics or stars from their shows to trend, they are bringing in additional revenue, attracting bigger and better advertisers and simply getting their name out there. That’s why every time there’s a match about to take place, Michael Cole, Tom Philips or Mauro Ranallo will tell you to hashtag SOMETHING. Whether you’re saying good things or bad things about Jinder Mahal, having that dumbass trend on social media is beneficial for both Mahal and the WWE. WWE profits from being so prominent on social media, plain and simple. Like Steve from LOP Radio’s “The Late Shift” always says, the people who are pouring money into WWE’s pockets don’t give a shit whether 99% of the things being said about Roman Reigns is a bad thing. The fact that Reigns was trending for three hours on Monday night – instead of a character from South Park, or even the South Park brand itself – is what attracts and pleases these corporations. For WWE, having a strong presence on social media is extremely beneficial, and they’d be fools to not tap into this well of profit.

You would think other wrestling companies would follow WWE’s lead and use social media to their advantage, especially in the hopes of getting more eyes on their product, right? While I can’t adequately comment on Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground or New Japan Pro Wrestling’s proficiency, I can safely say that TNA/GFW/impact/Whatever the hell they’re being called now have no idea how to take advantage of social media (surprise, surprise). Prior to writing this column, I asked my 900+ Twitter followers if anyone knew what matches were set for the Bound For Glory card (which is taking place TOMORROW, believe it or not), and only one person got back to me – and even he wasn’t entirely sure of every match! That’s sad. You would think with their weekly show averaging under 300,000 viewers, TNA could at least take to social media to try and promote their PPV tomorrow. Instead, you probably only know BFG is going down tomorrow night because I just told you about it a few seconds ago. Then again, this is the same company whose social media manager once verbally assaulted several fans on Twitter because they criticized what they saw. Clueless and unprofessional – two words that describe TNA in a nutshell (Author’s Note: With that being said, I now await the TNA fanboy-trolls who read “all of my columns” yet only comment when I take jabs at their precious dumpster-fire of a company. Bring it on, nerds).

Social media is a double-edged sword. Companies like WWE take advantage of it to promote their brand and turn word-of-mouth into profit. Wrestlers can profit from it as well, as social media – and YouTube – arguably saved Zack Ryder’s career. In fact, I bet the main reason why Ryder is still employed after 10+ years and is given short-lived ‘pushes’ from time-to-time is because they are forever grateful for Ryder showing them the power of social media. Even though WWE would have eventually started to push social media on their shows, Ryder helped them get the ball rolling before the other big-time players had even laced up their boots. For that, Vince & co. will always be grateful to Ryder (even if it may not come across that way on television).

At the same time, social media has also cost a number of wrestlers their jobs. In addition to Tough Enough’s Josh being canned partially because of comments he made on Twitter, Seth Rollins’ ex-girlfriend Zahra was fired from NXT a year or two ago after someone dug through her old posts and found pictures and/or tweets of her promoting Nazism and racism. Unsurprisingly, despite her best efforts to delete all those offensive tweets, Zahra was released only a few days later – and I’m sure she’s not the only wrestler to be fired because of past or current tweets. This kind of thing happens in every workplace nowadays, not just pro wrestling. Everyone from school teachers to lawyers to policemen and women have been fired after a picture/tweet/Facebook status update surfaced which their respective employer deemed inappropriate. That’s why I keep both my Facebook and Twitter private and use fake names on both. I’ve had both of those social media platforms for over ten years now and God only knows what kind of shit I posted when I was 25 or younger (probably things that made Lio Rush’s joke seem like a compliment in comparison). As Chris Jericho says in his latest book – “you never know who’s watching”. It’s better to be private and safe than exposed and vulnerable.

Social media is a powerful tool that can be exploited with either good or bad intentions in mind. The thing about power is that it’s often deadly, more so when anyone and their mother has access to it. With social media not poised to go extinct anytime soon, we as a society would be better off to either avoid it entirely or be careful with it. Look at Donald Trump: his Twitter is one of the most controversial social media accounts to be found today. Whether it’s his current tweets or his old ones (many which did not age well with time), people are constantly talking about The American President’s comments online, whether they agree with him or not. Trump has stated that he tweets so frequently and aggressively because he states it’s the “only way to get the real news out”. However, it would not surprise me if one day one of Trump’s tweets catches up with him, or he offends the wrong person.

Whether it’s professional wrestling, your everyday life, or the world of politics, it seems social media cannot be easily avoided in today’s society. Therefore, my advice to everyone reading this is to simply be careful about WHAT you say/post, WHO can see your posts, and PLEASE THINK CAREFULLY before you post. It’s better to be safe now than sorry later.


YOUR Two Centsss: What are your feelings on today's social media environment?

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Currently playing: Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Pokemon Shuffle, Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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