Seriously, WTF Pittsburg?
This weekend was shaping up to be the best weekend of wrestling I’ve seen this year. Between the New Japan G1 Climax kicking off and two of the best in the WWE locking up in an awesome iron man match on PPV I was in figurative wrestling fan heaven.
The weekend was awesome, it was breathtaking, it was exciting. Until in the very last match it wasn’t.
I’m not sure when I noticed it, probably around five minutes in. It started out in the background and then got louder and louder:
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, EEEEE
EVERY. GOD. DAMN. MINUTE.
There is a lot wrong with the WWE at the moment, storyline continuity has fallen off a cliff, character development is nearly non-existent and uncreative, unpopular, repetitive booking is at an all time high. With decisions like putting Roman Reigns in the main event at Backlash and conscious the choice to limit some their best wrestlers, the WWE has made themselves very hard to love.
However throughout these bleak post-Mania months there has been one constant bright spark that has lit up and burnt down every card he has been on. Seth Rollins. Building more and more momentum every week, he has solidified himself in many of our hearts as the guy holding the WWE together.
Night after night, week after week, month after month Rollins has demanded attention., Through the consistent force of his performance he has inserted himself into a whole bunch of places he doesn’t belong but fans want to see him in nonetheless. After two excellent matches with Dolph Ziggler that place he was not ‘meant’ to be in was a main event iron match at Extreme Rules.
Make no mistake, this was Vince McMahon giving the audience what we have said we wanted. If he had his way the main event would have been the spectacle of his two pet projects, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns but instead he listened to the fans and gave us one of the wrestling’s most pure match types between two of the best pure wrestlers on the company. This was essentially Vince McMahon throwing out his playbook for the last few months and handing if over to the audience reaction.
And how did the crowd react to it? Joy? Jubilation? Undivided attention and excitement?
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, EEEEE
I only just watched the match and haven’t delved too deep into the social media reaction but I feel like someone will try to create a counter narrative saying the reason the crowd was so distracted was because the match was just not very good. Well they are wrong. This was a story of a great wrestler winning, getting over confident, having to scrape to come back and then ultimately coming up short. Wrestled over thirty minutes the match had clear, logical swings in momentum, moments of drama, moments of excitement and showcased the kind of athleticism that modern fan claims to want in their wrestling.
Not that you would know it if you listened to the crowd.
It is rare that I draw absolutes like this but if you were in that crowd last night, if you chanted along instead of watching the match, if you booed the production crew instead of Dolph Ziggler and if you chanted for a clock comeback instead of a Seth Rollins comeback, you are not a wrestling fan. Hell if you laughed along at home then you are not a wrestling fan. In fact if you did anything except despair at the way the crowd treated this match then you are not a wrestling fan.
I’ll say that again in case it didn’t get through. If you thought what the crowd did at Extreme Rules was funny, interesting or justified in any way.
YOU ARE NOT A WRESTLING FAN
You should take your cash and spend it somewhere else, the wrestling world is better off without you. If you don’t go then ask yourself what you do want to see as a fan and if you ever complain about Roman Reigns main eventing again you should go and headbutt a wall.
Unfortunately though the damage has been done tonight and in the post-mortem I truly worry that this may be a turning point for the WWE. The reaction of the Pittsburg crowd to the main event will do nothing but justify everything Vince McMahon believes about modern fans not actually knowing what they want. The one time he completely listened to them this year, put on something ‘fan friendly’, took the cuffs off the wrestlers and let them go out to have a plain old wrestling match, these ‘fans’ spat it back at him.
The man is now completely loaded up with ammo to keep the likes of Rollins, Ziggler and the kind of matches they can put on, limited to the midcard. He can return to reserving the main event for the likes of Reigns, Lesnar and Lashley because they are what work for him. Oh and don’t expect another iron man match in the WWE in the next five years either.
It all must feel like a kick in the guts for Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins, who probably had to campaign hard backstage to get this match and busted their arse to put on a great match only to be rewarded with this. They will be back of course but I truly worry if we will ever see them earn back the complete trust of the man who matters most in the WWE.
As I said at the start, this was a great weekend of wrestling, there was lots to be happy and excited about. Hell if you watch it on mute I’m pretty sure that Iron Man match will stand up as a potential MOTY candidate. However sitting here reflecting on it and the long term effects it could have, all I have left is a bitter, bitter aftertaste because the only person I can blame is you.
Seriously screw you Pittsburg.
Thanks for reading LOP. Let me know what you thought of the Extreme Rules crowd in the comments below, on Twitter @Sir_Samuel or you can even write a column about why I’m wrong down on the LOP Columns Forum.
For something a little more positive you can check out my series YES Relived where I am following through the Yes Movement week by week. It will be back after a week off this Saturday.