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WWE's cell fan era

Just a random observation that happened to get me pondering on the effects technology may or may not be having on the fan experience at events in recent history.

Paul Heyman makes his entrance to the ring during the Cell Fan Era, as fans respond in a variety of ways
Paul Heyman makes his entrance to the ring during the Cell Fan Era, as fans respond in a variety of ways

Last night (Feb. 26) WWE brought us an episode of Monday Night Raw that will undoubtedly be remembered for generations to come as one of the best episodes of Raw to occur in this era. Perhaps, even resulting in a Match of the Year.

Thinking forward a few years or more on this, I cannot help but wonder whether or not someday there will come a time that people will look back on images of this era in pro wrestling history, much like we do now with our history pieces here at CSS, and wonder precisely how they will react to them.

Primarily, in this instance, I cannot help but wonder whether or not future wrestling fans and wrestling historians will remark on the cell phone as something that significantly altered the fan experience. It is of course hard to conjecture as to whether or not the cell experience will prove to be a passing fad, or evolve into something only a science fiction author might dream of.

But perhaps, our gadgets and devices may be viewed by future historians as having contributed to a more detached, less interactive and under-exuberant crowd at some, if not many, shows in the new millennium.

Case in point, let's take a look at the image above, and observe the three fans to the right of the image of Heyman, and notice their demeanor. The first, closest to Heyman is actively engaged in the moment. The next one to our right, is busy capturing and preserving the moment, the third man to the far right in the image, is busy watching himself on the Titantron with his cell in hand, at the ready.

Now, also indulge me by taking a few moments to analyze this screen grab from our Raw results and video playlist post (that I have taken the liberty to alter with the joy of MSPaint):

Regarding the altered image above, notice the eight, yes (8) instances underlined in yellow of fans who were right up on the barrier, ringside, just inches and feet away from a brawl between Brock Lesnar and Triple-freaking-H, who stood their with their cell phones prominently displayed, mostly being used as their lens to the world happening right before their very eyes.

Also notice, if you will, the emotional fan experience this image is visually communicating to us.

The fans, like the one on the left in the red "Never Give Up" shirt, the man between him and the young boy wearing black with a red collar, and particularly (my fave) the fan just right of center -- the guy with the ball cap and the white feather boa around his neck (? - that is a whole other discussion right there, heh heh). Going back up to the image of Heyman making his entrance, notice the interaction and emotional investment into the event of the three fans who are shown just right of Heyman in that image...

Now, when looking at these six fans (all adult males by the way, also interesting) and comparing and contrasting their expressions to those of the eight fans highlighted, do you see what I see in regards to fans being present in the moment and interacting the way they have in our recent past, pre-cell fan era?

Certainly, there is no debate or discussion to be had that last night's crowd in Dallas, was absolutely phenomenal (despite being a part of "The Cell Fan Era") and they clearly helped make this one of the best Monday Night Raws of all time. But, if fans had to unplug during the show and were then left with no alternative but to just be "present in the moment" without their devices and gadgets between them and the world before them, would what was phenomenal crowd heat have actually escalated into nuclear heat?

We may never know.

Things like this are just interesting to this Visual Communications major turned Assistant GM. Thoughts on any of this Cagesiders?

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