This is a true story.
The events depicted in this post took place on Twitter in 2020.
At the request of those who don’t think attention-seeking bad actors should be rewarded, the names have been changed or withheld.
Out of respect for those who are smart enough to stay out of these things, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
After the death of Hana Kimura following weeks of cyberbullying, a prominent wrestling content creator sent out a tweet saying they hoped the tragedy would be a wake up call for fans online. This person - let’s call them Jordan - often expresses their opinions on wrestling with vitriol aimed at performers they dislike or people who disagree with them, so their critics were quick to point that out. Jordan’s defenders responded by saying they don’t issue death threats anonymously, so they technically weren’t being hypocritical.
One of the people on Team “Jordan’s a hypocrite” was an even more prominent wrestling content creator who’d been the target of some of Jordan’s attacks in the past. This person - we’ll call them Riley - included several examples of times Jordan had targeted them in the past. Jordan fired back accusing Riley of using their tweet to shift the spotlight from Kimura to them in tweets filled with popular online terms like “clout chasing”, “virtue signaling”, and “snitch tagging”. The debate continued, with many Twitter users replying to both Jordan and Riley with support or insults.
WWE Superstars got involved after a third Twitter account dedicated to parodying/exposing Jordan shared a clip of Jordan criticizing a female wrestler’s in-ring performance with a vulgar, border-crossing hypothetical analogy. The woman mentioned - a frequent Jordan target - responded. She acknowledged that a tweet from her was exactly what Jordan wanted, but understandably felt the need to send it anyway.
Several other Superstars followed with their own condemnations, including one that threatened physical violence, and another that threw several insults back at Jordan. Which is also understandable. When someone says horrible things about one of your friends and colleagues, it’s natural to want to lash back.
But all of these people have thousands and thousands of followers. Once they sling some mud, a self-proclaimed “army” of “stans” with their heroes’ faces as their Twitter avatars follow suit. Some of the people behind those accounts will tweet horrible things to the fans of their favorite’s enemies. And the cycle continues.
I get that it’s extremely difficult to live life online. I have a fraction of the profile any of the folks in this little tale do, and I routinely get hateful messages from strangers who cavalierly wish harm upon me. Not having a social media presence can be career-limiting. Being online and having to take the high road while being attacked sucks.
But the net result of this drama is a ton of messages similar to the ones that led Hana to despair flowing in all directions, and more like-minded followers for Jordan - the kind of sexist gatekeeper the wrestling community needs to be minimizing, not amplifying.
In order to really avoid being a hypocrite myself, I’d have to leave this post without any advice. But I’m human, which means I think the world would be a better place if everyone did what I think is best. So here goes...
Online and IRL, everybody’s too busy interpreting other people’s motives, worrying about what other people think of them, and other things they have no control over. As cliche as it is, you’re much better off “being the change you want to see in the world” than trying to lecture or shame people into behaving the way you think they should. Be kind and focus on the positive as much as you can. You won’t be able to do it 24/7. Don’t try - practice restraint online just like you hopefully do in face-to-face interactions. When you fail, admit it, apologize, and try to learn from it so you can do it less in the future.
Or don’t. Continue on as you see fit. It’s what most of Wrestling Twitter is going to do anyway. Which is why I won’t waste any more of any of our time.