Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

“Sit Down Marks!”

Posted by Drake Kizer on March 22, 2017

Today’s readings were a continuation of our current section, “Understanding Professional Wrestling.” Once again, both pieces were written by Sam, and I have to say that him being such a professional wrestling enthusiast is awesome to me. Like many other fandoms, professional wrestling fans can usually spot each other from a mile away, and I had a feeling after we watched Roddy Piper in They Live that he probably a pretty big fan, but I never dreamed he was a prolific wrestling author.

The two articles, titled “‘I Was Stabbed 21 Times by Crazy Fans’: Pro Wrestling & Popular Concerns with Immersive Story Worlds” and “The Marks Have Gone Off-Script: Rogue Actors in the WWE’s Stands”, were both some of the most interesting pieces I have had to read for educational purposes in quite a while, but the essay about the crucial role professional wrestling fans play in the product they enjoy was my favorite of the two. Fans must allow themselves to be “emotionally manipulated by the convincing performance of an athletic contest”, but sometimes fans take their role too seriously and actually detract from the product they are so passionate about.

Modern professional wrestling fans have “unprecedented access to information about the professional wrestling business through the memoirs of wrestling performers and…the work of…journalists who report on the creative decisions backstage”, and this means that a fan’s impact on the show is more important now than ever before. Fans frequently orchestrate chants and protests that purposely disagree with the agenda the professional wrestling promotion is trying to advocate with their storylines. The article mentions the constant “CM Punk” chants that reference a former favorite who was treated poorly “backstage”, or the constant booing of the “good guy” Roman Reigns, for no other reason than to voice displeasure with the man who is being positioned as the new face of the company, much to the dismay of fans. In my estimation, disruptive fan intervention only serves to illicit anger from management, which only causes further dissatisfaction for fans.


3 Responses to ““Sit Down Marks!””

  1. jacobkaraglanis said

    I like the part that you mentioned about
    Roman Reigns. Because it really shows the real cult following that wrestling has and how the fans are so set in what they want. And what they want is consistency in their “reality” of wrestling.

  2. nathanpowers22 said

    I would agree that the fan intervention is disruptive, but to me, that descriptor in itself suggests fans play a greater role than just pissing off the management when they chant and jeer. Really, what’s being disrupted is a narrative that fans are already dissatisfied with in hopes of driving changes they want to see. In booing Roman Reigns, Vince McMahon might get visibly upset onstage, but behind the scenes in the writers’ room, I imagine this fan ire gets weaved into the storyline to provide a response that acknowledges the reaction. For example, I don’t follow wrestling, but I would guess that the WWE might turn Reigns into a heel character to ramp up the “heat” his character draws, thus turning the initial negative into a positive, where fans “love to hate” him.

  3. […] https://mitsoaps.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/sit-down-marks/ […]

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