Let me start by saying that this is not a crusade against Luke Thomas. He is being used here as mainly an example of what many pro wrestling fans encounter on a daily basis in regards to their newly found love of MMA. The younger generation of kids that grow up watching wrestling may get to a point where they want to break into the legitimate sports world and MMA is a great way to do that. They do not, however, want to be ridiculed for still enjoying professional wrestling.
I didn't want to go so far as to make a front page post about this but I was encouraged and I'm tired enough of what I'm hearing that I'm doing so. If you read this blog that implies that you are in some form or another a pro wrestling fan. As commenter KJ Gould pointed out in this post, WWE.com was the 1,079th most visited site on the entire internet in the last quarter. All of those people, according to many MMA snobs, are fat idiots.
I'm always pained to see someone say something ridiculous like that in regards to anything but it really strikes a nerve here. First of all, someone in the position that Luke has worked his way into as the Editor-in-Chief of Bloody Elbow, hosting MMA Nation on CBS Radio, which is a great show, and now a new partnership with Comcast SportsNet should not being saying such things. I couldn't wish anything more for the guys at BE like Kid Nate, who gives us a lot of love, Brent Brookhouse, who is also a fan of pure wrestling and Mike Fagan. It's great that those guys get out to so many people because they deserve it. The kind of conduct that Luke is engaging in is the same kind of conduct that he has banned members of that site for in the past. MMA Nation is a good show and the BE comments section is fun and informative but not when the Editor-in-Chief is saying things like that.
Thomas was on The Jordan Breen show today and they talked pro wrestling. In a nutshell, he again said that pro wrestling fans are intellectually challenged, that we're assholes and that he likes things that are real, therefore he can't like pro wrestling. His main beef seems to be that we draw too many parallels to the world of MMA and he hates the terminology we use. Here is what he had to say on BE in a fanpost promoting his appearance on the Jordan Breen Show:
...how utterly simplistic, idiotic, fanboyishly reflexive, slovenly, intellectually lazy, inappropriate and otherwise annoying to no end how pro wrestling fans try to distill MMA into pro wrestling terms and concepts to help them understand the support. Jordan and I take a gigantic dump on the moronic p.w. constructs, so I'm sure some of you are going to further hate my guts, but that's what you get for having the entertainment palate of a toddler.
You could argue that I'm an asshole but to call me and so many others intellectually challenged because we watch a work of fiction is like calling the millions of people who go to movie theaters a bunch of fat idiots too. He only likes things that are real? Seriously? So he hates movies, sitcoms, dramas, video games and all works of fiction. As far as the terminology goes, that's applied everywhere and to everything. The term heel was taken from pop culture where it was used to describe a contemptible person. In pro wrestling they use it to describe a bad guy. I wonder if it would bother Luke that for the purpose of this writing, he is the heel and everyone else is the babyface?
Is he trying to piss off people like me and you who enjoy pro wrestling? It would appear so, now wouldn't it? It gets people talking and that's a lot of the point. But make no mistake, he actually believes a lot of what he is saying. Hard to believe, I know, but he really does. We're trying not to hold it against you Luke but you're making it hard on us.
Most hatred is rooted in ignorance and this is no different. The Attitude Era had it's pros and cons. This seems to be an instance of Thomas, among so many others, believing that we love wrestling because of the "sports entertainment" side of it. That the only reason we tune in is to listen to these guys cut promos and spray beer all over the place. This couldn't be any further from the truth. A wrestling match is an art form. When done properly, by talented guys who know how to work a crowd, it's a beautiful thing. I guess he can't get past the fact that they aren't actually punching each other or trying to hurt each other to see what is clear as day to the rest of us; there is more to it than that. They are telling a story with each move they make and you have to see past the surface to find it.
Kid Nate has always stated that he has an appreciation for the inner workings of the wrestling business much the same as he has an appreciation for public relations and politics. I feel very much the same way. It's fascinating to think about the goings on in the back in regards to what guys are going to get the next push or are going to get buried. Many of the things that draw people to wrestling make themselves evident in MMA, as much as some might hate that thought. If you can't see past the fact that it's "fake" then of course you aren't going to like it. You have to look deeper than that. Maybe the problem is that, for some, the capacity to look deeper just doesn't exist.
Plenty of famous personalities make their way to wrestling shows and have a great time. How long ago was it that Ben Roethlisberger hosted Raw? Remember Rampage Jackson and how much he was gushing on his Twitter about how great it was to be a part of it and how much he's always loved it? Larry Miller is an actor and comedian and he loves wrestling. In a blog post he put up in March, Miller says this:
We really did have a great time. This is the WWE, Wordwide Wrestling Entertainment, and, folks, these people, at every level, put on the best evening, the best fun, the best show, the best everything.....Anyone who doesn’t get wrestling, doesn’t get America.
He isn't the only one to think that. We don't take wrestling nearly as serious as some would believe. Certainly not as serious as fight fans take their MMA. There is good reason for both. We laugh at it when they do something stupid just as you do. But we certainly aren't going to tell you that what you love is garbage. Even if we don't understand it.