clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Modern fan behavior isn’t always awesome

And for those trying to enjoy the show, they DON’T deserve it.

Convincing my wife, a non-wrestling fan, to join me for a night of sports entertainment often requires some cajoling unless it involves Sami Zayn and the Bloodline. And on the night Jey Uso verbally squared off with Zayn, she was hanging on every word as each man delivered an Oscar-worthy performance. But one word, repeated ad nauseam by the crowd, ruined the production for her.


And while it’s not the first time arena-goers actively ruined a critical performance, it’s only getting worse.

Of course, seeing a wrestler’s mic time get trampled on isn’t new.

One of the earliest examples happened to Ole Anderson in 1980 after he betrayed rival-turned-partner Dusty Rhodes. As Anderson tried to crow about his actions, those gathered at Midtown Atlanta’s WTCG television studio didn’t want to hear it. Literally.

“We don’t want to hear it! We don’t want to hear it!”

For the next several minutes, the live studio audience taunted Anderson with that and other chants, forcing him to shout through his promo.

To modern fans, such behavior might not seem different from how they act today. But this was 1980 when wrestling enthusiasts were truly mad and wanted to kill Anderson, which is what one fan tried to do four years earlier in South Carolina.

Thankfully, today’s spectators aren’t attempting to murder a sports entertainer. Instead, they butcher nearly every television show with endless singing and chanting.

Such was the case recently for Baron Corbin, who had to power through his monologue despite endless refrains of Bum Ass Corbin from those inside WWE’s Performance Center.

Ironically, the same group calling Corbin a Bum Ass happily serenaded his match later that night with the tired chorus of This is Awesome.

If pressed to pinpoint when fans seized control of the shows and tried making it about themself, your Noble Scribe would credit the birth of this self-centered conduct to Extreme Championship Wrestling.

For decades, wrestlers were the puppet masters, tugging on audience emotions to elicit a response. But in ECW, the fans were soon pulling the strings, telling the wrestlers what they wanted to see, and the wrestlers giving it to them all for the rush of hearing that familiar battle cry, “E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub!”

But the turning point came in 2013 when WWE rewarded the raucous mass in New Jersey with a Slammy Award for their over-the-top antics on Raw the night after WrestleMania 29. Soon, the night after ‘Mania was as much about how the fans would act as it was about the storylines following WWE’s grand spectacular.

And then 2020 came along, and the world changed for the worse, thanks to COVID-19, which kept fans out of the arena for almost two years.

For a time during the pandemic, I quit watching wrestling because the shows were sad without the fans in the building. But now, there are days when I miss the Thunderdome.

I know firsthand how much live wrestling conjures up various emotions in attendees, having attended countless events during my fandom. But not every night is the night after WrestleMania 33. So let the performers speak and hold the boos or applause until an appropriate moment presents itself, and remember to be mindful of those trying to follow along.

Or, as the late Hall of Famer Rick Rude would say, “Keep the noise down.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats