The "YES!" chant is one of the best developments to come along in WWE crowds in a good long while. Anything that supports Daniel Bryan in his bid to take over the WWE Universe and bring good wrestling to the forefront of a new generation is fine by me. The most important part of those two sentences is that it's great for WWE. That's where Bryan is, that's where Bryan represents us as fans, and that's where those chants should happen.
Where they shouldn't be happening is at independent wrestling shows. I know that it's the mark of the kind of fan who goes to an indie show to be cool and hip and do the thing that everyone else seems to do to show that they're "smart". That being said, has anyone ever thought of the implication of chanting "YES!" repeatedly at a show where WWE and its ethos are about as far removed as anything within wrestling can be? I'm not sure that's the case.
The most recent example of this bleeding over of chants happened at Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur. I was there and sat in the crowd as several times, they burst into "YES! YES! YES" chants. The first time was understandable; it was during the preshow when "The Final Countdown" played over the Trocadero PA system. I can give a mulligan to the crowd for that, but what about during the actual matches? Why is it such a big deal that fans chant another guy's chant at wrestlers in the ring?
It's because it sends a terrible message to the guys in the ring. Whether it's the case or not, it tells them that you would rather be at a WWE event, cheering on Daniel Bryan, and that you couldn't care any less than you in that moment about the guys in the ring busting their humps and giving you a show. I don't know about you, but if I was doing something for a crowd and they kept reminding me that I wasn't as famous as someone else in my field doing it when I did something great, I'd be pretty pissed too.
It'd be like if all the comments on everyone of my blogs, whether here or at my home at The Wrestling Blog, said "BEST AND WORST!" or "DEAD WRESTLER OF THE WEEK!" or something of that ilk, I'd be a little annoyed. That doesn't mean that the guys in the ring dislike or resent Bryan, just like I don't resent Brandon Stroud or David Shoemaker. In fact, I hold both in high regard and read them all the time. But the truth is, I want you to read my work and absorb it and judge it on its own merits.
The same goes for pro wrestlers. The Young Bucks, Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor, Matthew Palmer, Rachel Summerlyn and everyone else who steps into a wrestling ring. They want to feel like you're judging them for the art they create, not to always be held up to a standard that to them might feel impossible to replicate sometimes. It's a matter wholly borne of subjectivity whether Bryan is "better" than those indie wrestlers, but it's totally objective to say that Bryan has attained more success in the wrestling industry than they have. A true statement or not, it's not something that those wrestlers deserve to have thrown in their faces when they're out there performing for you for three figures a show, sometimes as a weekend thing they do to escape from their 40 hour-a-week jobs. I don't think it's fair to them at all.
I'm not saying we need to be nice to all indie wrestlers or walk on eggshells. Believe me, no one is infallible, but if you truly appreciate what they do in the ring, there are better ways to express that than by spamming a "YES! YES! YES!" chant at them. We already have the "This is awesome!" chant which works just fine, thank you very much. The wrestlers will appreciate it more. I know that sometimes, they can be nothing more than cattle to you as fans, so who cares what they think, but at the same time, everyone wants to feel appreciated, especially people who put their bodies on the line so you can have a good time on a weekend night.
I don't mean to get all "Tsk tsk" at people for expressing themselves, because Lord knows I'm all for free expression. That being said, while you're all well within your rights to "YES!" whatever you want, I ask that you use some restraint and think about showing your appreciation not only with your dollars but with your creativity. These wrestlers are the innovators. Don't recycle chants meant for guys who work for WWE, no matter how awesome they may be, for these fine men and women who are the future of wrestling and deserve their own chants, thank you very much.