Ben Roberts : Big Ben’s Bigger Opinion 15/08/13
Hi Lock Up readers, firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Ben Roberts and I have been a fan of Pro Wrestling since 1988 and am the co-owner of the best wrestling related news and features page on Facebook Ring Wars which I co-own with my beautiful girlfriend Tanya. I have a real passion for Pro Wrestling and believe when done right it is a true art form and the best form of entertainment on the planet.
I had a number of ideas swimming around my head for a subject for my first piece for The Lock Up but earlier this morning while scrolling through the many wrestling related post’s that occupy my Facebook news feed I came across a status from an admin of one of the many sub par wrestling pages on Facebook, making a bold statement “Sting needs to go to WWE………because you can’t say you have made it in wrestling unless you have been in the WWE!!” I shook my head in disbelief at the arrogance and ignorance of the comment and carried on scrolling down, but something bothered me about it, I wholeheartedly disagreed with absurd statement and had almost dismissed it completely but this status had 64 likes and had only been posted a matter of minutes before. Where I had laughed it off as another pointless and uneducated status from an attention seeking admin, others had agreeed with it or so the number of likes would suggest. It made me wonder, how many wrestling fans actually had that mindset and God forbid were they right?
Now I must clarify that the first part of the aforementioned status I do actually agree with to a point. I do feel that Steve “Sting” Borden should sign on the dotted line with McMahonland once his TNA contract expires in January 2014, it would be a smart business decision for the 54 year old veteran. A deal with the WWE would give The Stinger the chance to go out on top in the biggest wrestling company on the planet, with a guaranteed Hall Of Fame induction and three disc DVD set to cemment his legendary status with a whole new generation of wrestling fans and of course as a longtime fan, the prospect of The Icon standing opposite The Undertaker in the last true dream match left for fans of my age, is truly mouth watering. However the fact that I agree with the first half of the statement under analysis, I find myself disagreeing with the second part wholeheartedly.
Although I believe a WWE run for Sting is a good idea I do not hold the belief that without it he is a failure. For someone to suggest that simply never working for Vince McMahon’s giant they have achieved success and fulfilled their potential is frankly ridiculous. Many of the greatest workers and entertainers the wrestling business has ever seen have never st foot in a WWF/E ring. The likes of Johnny Saint, Mark Rocco, Mick McManus and a whole host of bona-fide British legends are not thought any less of by educated wrestling fans, despite never working for WWE. An American wrestling legend who recently passed away by the name of “Fabulous” Jackie Fargo was never under the employ of The McMahon Family, yet he is without a doubt a true pioneer and legend of the game. Almost every great name to grace Japan including the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, Jushin Liger etc. have never ran the ropes at Madison Square Garden but no one in the Know would doubt their credibility, talent or success. I haven’t even scratched the surface and already it is clear that the statement I am addressing is completely absurd. Or is it??
Not only does not every great or successful wrestler have to work for the WWE, but infact the vast majority of the best wrestlers in history have never worked for WWE. But why does this belief exist among a large number of fans? It is easy to just put it down to brainwashed members of the “WWE Universe” who simply do not know any better, but in this digital age is that really an excuse. If said fans are so opinionated and passionate about wrestling or more specifically WWE, why wouldn’t they seek out other forms of Pro Wrestling past and present? And if in fact they do, but still hold that distorted view, then I fear WWE’s stranglehold over the average casual fan is even stronger than I first thought. Maybe just maybe, the WWE is the measuring stick for success? maybe Sting is not a true legend until he performs at Wrestlemania? Maybe it’s my love and passion for all things wrestling that has made my view the distorted one? Maybe because I love all forms of wrestling I expect others to do the same and get annoyed when they are happy with WWE’s brand of Sports Entertainment. If you ask most Indy wrestlers or aspiring wrestlers what their ultimate dream is, the vast majority will say “To main event Wrestlemania” or “to be WWE Champion” so therefore am I banging my head against the proverbial brick wall?
If we remove Japan and Mexico from the equation because the dream for a young Japanese trainee may be to headline at the Tokyo Dome and his Mexican counterpart may see main eventing AAA Triplemania as the holy grail over Wrestlemania, but in America and the U.K. WWE is King. Although a wrestler can be a success in 2013 without working for Vince McMahon, unfortunately in theeyes of the vast majority of wrestling fans, he or she will never be a “real star” unless they have performed on Monday Night Raw, Smackdown and ultimately Wrestlmania. So although us smart fans and fans of Pro Wrestling in a wider sense may get annoyed by it, the majority rules. Like it or not in the minds of the majority the likes of John Cena, Triple H, Gorilla Monsoon, Bruno Sammartino and CM Punk will always be held in a higher regard than Mitsuharu Misawa, Mick McManus, “Fabulous” Jackie Fargo and countless others.
I will still moan and disagree and shake my head in disbelief at what I may call ignorance but I would be the ignorant one if I thought my opinion mattered more than the majority’s
In closing Do you have to work for WWE to be a success in Pro Wrestling? Absolutely not! Does being aware of that fact change the opinion of the majority of wrestling fans? Absolutely not! I won’t stop fighting the good fight though, even though I am fully aware it is a fight I cannot win.
That was Big Ben’s Big Opinion………Thanks for reading guys.
Until next time, be good and if you can’t be good, be careful